Monday, October 31, 2011

My sister and I are just three years apart in age, but we're decades apart in life. My baby is a college freshman and her's is just learning to walk. We're also each starting a challenge tomorrow--challenges that are on polar opposites.

My sis, I'll call her "Styx," is going to spend the next month not eating out. I'm not sure how strict she's planning to be about it. No coffee at the local coffee shop? Or just no lunch hour rush to the drive thru? Either way, I know she's going to succeed in her goal. Styx already knows how to use a crock pot and I'm positive that it will get a lot of use in the next 30 days.

My family will be at the opposite end, however. Tomorrow, I start NaNoWriMo. Again. In my home, that becomes "Don't bother Mom until she hits her day's word count. Or else. No. Really." (NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, is a time for crazy people to write 50,000 words in a month. Yes, 1,667 words every day for 30 days, even with Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday.)

For the next 30 days, my hubby will be scrounging the kitchen wondering if his wife will ever cook again. Experience tells me my meals will either be very messy or take out because those are the meals hubby "makes" best. I shudder to think of the dishes that will await my writing breaks. We won't contemplate what the laundry might look like on December 1.

I know Styx will make it. She will be a cookin' fool in the month of November and will probably find some amazingly yummy recipes in the process. Heck, I plan to post a few here as a show of support. I hope I, too, make my goal of 50,000 words. This will be a new series and I'm excited about the idea. I'm really hoping that NaNoWriMo will get me back in the writing groove. That's the goal, anyway!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I'm gearing up for National Novel Writing Month. Check out the post I did as my alter-ego, Nichole R. Bennett.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Trust me when I say that growing pains aren't just for kids anymore. Parents have them, too.

It's hard to watch your little one spread her wings. I want her to fly, but I don't want to see her fall. I think watching her climb trees and run up the slide were easier than seeing her struggle in search of her future.

As this happens, I'm trying to find my place. When the kid was very young, my ex threatened to kidnap her. I know now that it was a scare tactic and he had no intention of doing that (it would have seriously cut into "his" time to care for a little one). At the time, however, the threat was enough to keep me vigilant, to make sure I watched my little one. My vigilance wasn't always toward her. I mean, I never worried about bumps and bruises acquired through being a kid. What was happening around her, who was in the shadows, those were the things I tried to be extra cautious about.

She doesn't need me for that any longer. Now a legal adult, she is supposed to watch those shadows for herself. Do I think she can do it? Probably. Does it still scare the bejezus outta me? Definitely.

But I'm trying. I'm trying to let her do her thing. But it's not easy. I remember the days when Mom's opinion was the most important. Now it's not. To be honest, that's a bit of a blow to the ego. To go from adviser to "butt out-ski" almost overnight. My biggest problem, I think, is that I like being the mom. I've always looked upon that as being my best job, the one that brought me the most satisfaction. And yes, I'm still the mom. I know that. But it's a different relationship now. One I'm trying to get a handle on and feeling like I'm failing miserably.

Don't get me wrong! I haven't spent the last two decades sitting in a rocker telling my kid what to do and not doing a thing for me. (Sorry, really lame Psycho reference.) I have other interests, other commitments, other adventures that don't depend on "mom-ness" but they were never my first priority. Now I'm trying to move them up. I'm focusing on my crafts: writing, knitting, spinning, sewing, painting. I'm making time for my organizations—specifically Eastern Star, Daughters of the Nile, and my local writers group. I'm scheduling activities for me: china painting, knit night, spin-in.

Most importantly, I'm communicating with hubby. As hard as this empty nest/growing pain thing is for me, I know it's hard on him, too. He "picked" this little girl to be his. He married a woman with a child, taking on that responsibility. He adopted her and became the dad when he didn't have to. As a married couple, we've never known a time when there wasn't a child around. I know we're both struggling.

As I grow into this new role, I can only hope I'm doing it right. Like the rest of parenting, there's no handbook for this, either. I will make some mistakes. Hubby will make some mistakes. I pray none of them are permanent ones or unfix-able ones. And that the kid will cut us a little slack as all three of us try to navigate this uncharted territory.

Anyone with suggestions, bring 'em on. It's nice to know that I'm not alone.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Weather in the Black Hills has been demented. Yesterday it was about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The day before it was above 95. Today's forecast is for the upper 80s. And it's been like that most of the summer.

For the most part, that's not a problem. Except for when I want to be outside. Call me a wimpy, but I have no desire to go for a three-mile walk or bike ride (I don't run/jog) in either pouring rain or scorching heat. I'm just not that dedicated. I have, however, been moving more. Not moving like to a new house. Moving like off my butt and on my feet.

For those of you who like to sweat, that probably sounds lazy. I don't like to sweat. I don't like to exercise for no reason. Yeah, I know being healthy is a reason. Just not one that honestly appeals to me. I would much rather be reading a book or knitting socks than walking to the closest stop sign. (I live in a more rural area. The walk to and from the stop sign is my 3 mile round trip.)

My other exercising problem is that I'm a naturally frugal person. I could join a gym and then be guilt-ed into working out, but I don't want to spend that money. Especially since my hubby is retired from the military and we live fairly close to an Air Force base. I could use the base gym for much less than a gym membership downtown or a membership to the local Y. But, then there's that little problem of gas. Do I want to drive all the way to the base just to work out. By myself. When I could just as easily walk to the stop sign and back.

And now we're back to the weather. Full circle.

So I bribe myself. I already mentioned that I'd rather be reading a book or knitting than exercising. Thankfully, there is a fantastic podcast that combines both: CraftLit. Heather, the host, is amazing. She finds some great readers on Librivox and adds her own insight as a former English teacher. I download a few episodes on my iPod and Heather and I make that walk. Every once in awhile, she talks about her vacations to Deadwood, South Dakota, (a mere 40 miles from me) and I'm tempted to drop her an e-mail. Then I remember I'm very behind on the podcast since I didn't hear about it for the longest time and her life has probably changed since the piece I'm listening to. Seriously, I'm on episode 53 and, according to her website, she's recorded number 230-something. Yep, I'm a little behind. And I only listen to CraftLit when I'm exercising outside. So on those pouring rain days, I'm not listening. Neither do I listen on those scorching hot ones.

When I need to "get my move on" those days, I use the Wii. I have a few different Wii games designed for fitness: Wii fit, Yoga and Pilates U, Walk It Out, Zumba. I'm pretty good about doing something at least three days a week. I may not always like it, but I do it.

I'm not sure if it's the "I'd rather be reading" part or the "frugal" part, but even three days a week is a challenge.

Is that just me? Or have I just not found the exercise for me yet? You'd think after 40 years, I would have found something that fits in, but not yet. I'm open to suggestions...


Thursday, August 25, 2011

I've been crafting. A lot.

I have an afghan almost finished and I sewed three tops and a skirt earlier this month. I love to create.

Too bad I'm not writing as much as I should!


Sunday, August 21, 2011

I miss my baby. But I'm really disappointed in her, too.

I had the dubious honor of taking my little girl to college this past week. She's only a few hours away, but she's homesick. Or, rather, she doesn't think college is for her. I'm not sure how a person can tell that after two days and before classes even start, but there you have it.

When I talk to her on the phone, she sounds so sad. So very sad. And that isn't her personality. In fact, she has a smile that you can hear in her voice. She is usually so outgoing and bubbly. She is normally a kid who makes friends easily, yet she's spent every spare moment so far sitting in her dorm. Yes, I realize the upside is that she isn't out partying, but she isn't out doing anything else, either. One of my favorite sounds in the world is her laughter, and I miss it. Like crazy.

I don't understand where she's coming from. I honestly and truly don't.

You see, she's fortunate enough to have this golden opportunity. Due to some circumstances, she has college practically paid for. She is being handed an education right there on a silver platter and she acts like she doesn't want it.

I know I'm biased. I think a college degree is important. Very important. So important, in fact, that I spent a total of 15 years trying to get mine. I won't go into the statistics of how much more a college graduate makes over a lifetime. It's a significant difference. Are there more important things then money? Of course there are. At least there are until you can't pay the rent. Then money becomes a bit more important. What's that phrase? Money can't buy happiness, but it's more comfortable to be miserable in a BMW than on a 10-speed. Something like that... A college degree is the difference between working in a coffee shop and owning the coffee shop.

And despite what she claims from customers at the restaurant she worked at, I've never heard of anyone who regretted getting their degree, but I know plenty of people who regret not getting one. (Hey, if I'm wrong, let me know!) Besides her education is practically paid for! Where is the "waste of money" if it isn't your money? (And why couldn't she come up with that moral argument when she wanted a car/prom dress/TOMS/new flat iron?) Where is waste if you take advantage of a limited time opportunity?

I hate to admit it, but I know that if she leaves school I will loose a certain amount of respect for her as a person. Don't misunderstand!! I will always love my baby. And yes, I want her to be happy. I just want her to also be educated. At 18, she has no idea what's going to happen in the next 5-10-30 years. And in all that time, she will need a roof over her head, food in her belly. But I will always remember that she had this chance, one that I had to work so much harder for, and she tossed it aside like a rotten tomato.

I honestly don't care what her degree is in. History? Fine. English? Fine. Physical Therapy? Fine. Counseling? Fine. Underwater Basket Weaving? Fine. I just want her to have that college degree. To have something she can use to fall back on later.

In the current economy, there are enough people unemployed (and, to be fair, underemployed). Many of them are fighting for those minimum wage jobs. Competition can be fierce. An education is a way to give yourself an advantage.

Plus, with all the general classes required, a college student learns a lot of things which can open their minds to so many more opportunities. And opportunities open more doors.

The idea of her miserable breaks my heart, it makes me cry. But I'm not giving in on this one. It's more important for her to have that sheepskin, to take advantage of this opportunity she's being given. I know it's harsh, but if she drops out, she's on her own. No more funds from mom and dad. We will support her as long as she remains in school: car insurance, health insurance, laundry money, whatever it takes. We'll even help once she graduates and is actively looking for work in any field. But not if she leaves school. That's a decision I can't support. And the thought of that breaks my heart.

I know that at 18, she is considered a legal adult. She's made decisions in her six months of adult-hood that I disagree with. She still hasn't registered to vote, which just bugs the crap outta me. We won't discuss the septum piercing. *shiver*

I will always love her. Always. More than she can possibly imagine. But I can't support her making a decision that will limit her future. Maybe I'm just a snob. Maybe I'm I worry too much. Maybe I'm just an overprotective mother who wants what is best for her child. Maybe I'm so cheap that I can't imagine throwing away such an opportunity just because. Maybe I'm letting the sadness in her voice get the best of me.

I think the next few weeks will be tough. On all of us. And I wish it weren't. I wish I'd hear the smile again. I wish she would look toward the future instead of acting like she was stuck in a prison.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Wordpress or Blogger? Obviously, I have this blog at blogger. I also have a (parked) one at Wordpress. Which should I use?


Thursday, July 28, 2011

(reposted from

Life is too deep for words, so don’t try to describe it, just live it. -C.S. Lewis

Today started out like any other. I was up and at the computer before anyone else in the house had even opened an eye. There was stuff I needed to do, stuff I really should do, stuff I wanted to do, and the other stuff.

I started with the first two categories. Since I am self-employed and work from home, by 6 a.m. I had updated a client’s web site, checked my work e-mail, and started a blog post. I finished off my pot of coffee and showered once I knew I would be able to tell the body soap from the hair conditioner. I even considered taking the dog for a walk before it got too dang hot outside.

That’s when it happened. That’s when things got goofy.

“Psst. Got a minute?” It was a male voice, whispering.

Looking around, I didn’t see anyone. And since the voice lacked a distinct Texas-drawl, I could safely assume my husband wasn’t the owner of voice. The voice being male, I could also safely assume the voice didn’t belong to either of my children, them both being daughters and all.

“Pssst. Over here,” the voice repeated.

“Um, God? Is that you?”

“Yep. Nice of you to remember.”

I grimaced. “What can I do for you?”

“We need to talk.”

Gulp. “We do?”


“I’m a little busy. Is this going to take along time. I have to have this blog post done today you see. . . .”

“And I have a Universe to see to, so I promise to make it quick.”


“You’re seriously forgetting some things. I know you don’t much care for change, but really, Nichole. You’re taking it a little far.”

“What do you mean I don’t like change? I’ve been considering a new hairstyle.”

“And those boxes in your living room?”

“Oh, those aren’t mine. The kid is going to college next month. But you probably know that, don’t you?”

“Yep. But you aren’t taking it very well.”

“She’s my baby! Do you know what’s like to lose your baby? Oh, yeah, I guess you do.”

“I never said it would be easy.”

“It’s just that, well, she’s going to leave on her adventure. She’s growing up and will be starting a life, an adventure, a journey, all on her own. I want her to be happy and healthy and successful in whatever she decides to do.”


“I’m so proud of her. And so worried about her.”

“Did you tell her that?”

“Tell her?”

“Yep. Tell her.”

“Okay, I promise to tell her just as soon as she wakes up.”

“Good. Now about that shirt.”

“My shirt? It says ‘Live Out Loud.’ I got it when I went to visit my parents.”

“Yep. But are you doing it?”

“Visiting my parents? No, I’m at home. Oh! You mean living out loud. Well, I’m a bit shy you know.”

“There’s plenty of ways to be loud. And plenty of ways to live.”

“Yeah, I suppose there are. . .”

“She knew that.”

“She? Knew? My kiddo is just sleep . . . . Oh, you mean Jolee. Did you have to take her?”

“It was her time. She was tired of fighting.”

“Lung cancer. She didn’t deserve that.”

“You know better?”

“Sorry. But I will miss her. I already miss her. Her celebration of life is this afternoon.”

“I know.”

“God, I’m not sure I can go. I really don’t like funerals.”

“Celebration. Of. Life. It’s BYOB, remember.”

“Yeah, but. . . .”

“Her family should know you love her. Her family should know they aren’t the only ones who will miss her.”

“I suppose. It’s hard, though. I’m about to cry just thinking about it.”

“I know. Jolee understands.”

“Of course she does. She was one of the most understanding people I even met.”

“Learn from her.”

“Excuse me? Learn from her? You took her, remember?”

“Live out loud. Learn from Jolee. What do you admire about her?”

“Her humor. Her ability to laugh at herself. The way she always looked on the bright side of everything.”

“So do it. Honor her by emulating those things you admire in her.”

“I’m not sure I can be as easy going as she was. You just didn’t give me that skill.”

“Work on it. But didn’t you also admire the way she told people how important they were?”

“Well, yes, but I’m not very mushy. I get embarrassed when people thank me in public.”

“Work on it.”

“Yeah, but—”

“No buts. Do it. Besides, it’s better to give those messages in person rather than have to go through Me.”

“True. I promise I’ll work on it.”

“Good. Start now. Remember those things you thought you needed to accomplish today?”


“You don’t. Move those to the ‘should do’ list. Every day there needs to be one thing on your ‘must do’ list. Just one.”

“Just one?”

“Just one. Live out loud. Tell people how much they mean to you. Make the world a better place. Laugh. Don’t worry about being embarrassed. Make sure the people you love know that you love them. Live. Out. Loud. The rest is icing on the cake.”

“Live out loud. Got it.”

“And, Nichole?”

“Yes, God?”

“Start now.”

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Here is the link to the story the local television station did about the bees. Hobby bee keepers help bees to keep ecosystem functioning - KOTA Territory News


Monday, May 23, 2011

Saturday was a big day around here. In fact, you could say it was all "a buzz." No, really. That was the day the honey bees arrived.

For me, this was a huge deal. I mean, I grew up in the city. Malls, museums, restaurants, the whole nine yards. Not big like, say, New York City or Los Angeles, but a place of more than a quarter of a million people in the city proper. In contrast, were I live now has a population of less than 60,000. And I don't actually live in town.

It's made some of my frugal ways more challenging than you might think. Sure, I don't spend a lot of time walking the mall. With fewer than 50 stores and no other mall for 450 miles, that gets old quickly. On the other hand, there really aren't any "good" second hand stores like you can find in larger populations.

(Hang in there, this really does have something to do with honey bees....)

So, even though I'm a "shop around and get the best price" kinda girl, and I'm pretty "crafty" besides, raising food of any type just wasn't in the life plan. Sewing my own clothes? Yep. Cooking from scratch? Got it. Shopping at the "day old" bread store? Love it. Butchering a cow? Never. Eating deer or wild turkey (the animal, that is, not the drink)? Probably not. Harvesting honey? Forget it.

But life doesn't always work out the way you plan, does it?

Maybe it's where I live. Maybe it's age. Maybe it's Hubby's influence. Who knows. But in the past few years, I've found myself trying to live "off the land" more and more. All those things I swore I'd never do don't seem so "outside the realm of possibility" anymore.

When Hubby and I were discussing this a year or so ago, one of us came up with the idea of getting a hive of honey bees. (I think it was probably my idea and I know I jumped on the idea of keeping our neighbors out of the back field, but that's a long story for another day.) Whoever threw out the idea, we both embraced it. We did some research. We saved our pennies. And now we have a hive.

We've had the actual hive for month or so. After some discussion, we opted to place the thing in our root cellar, which we don't use. We figured the bees would be fairly well protected from the elements down there, as well as being a little warmer in the winter and a little cooler in the summer. Saturday, I got the nook of bees, which is what that cardboard box in front of the hive is.

Inside that nook were four frames covered with bees. I wish I would have thought to get a photo of the approximately 15,000 winged creatures in that box. Oh well, you'll just have to take my word for it. We got the frames transferred into the hive and got the sugar water into the feeder box and there was only one sting. (It was me. About half an inch above my right eye. And that was when I was carrying the nook from the pick up site to the car. It was my first ever sting (as far as I know) so it's refreshing to know I'm not allergic!)

Now we wait. There won't be any honey until fall, of course, and we don't know if we'll have some even then.

In the meantime, our garden has been planted and wild flower seeds have been tossed into the back field. Yes, tossed without rhyme or reason to grow however. Both the garden plants--tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, peppers--and the wild flower patches will hopefully provide the honey bees with enough food as the summer progresses. Of course that means we need to keep deer and other animals from eating the flowers. So we've used the ugly gorilla I wrote about in a post last January as a scarecrow.

Amazingly, it seems to be working.

To go off on a little bit of a tangent, Spring means yard work around here. I don't mind mowing, but it needs to stop raining before any serious mowing can take place. You can't see it so well in the photos, but it was raining lightly as I took each of these.

In this last picture, though, you can see how desperately the grass needs to be mowed. Grass that long will clump in both the push mower and the rider. Wet grass will be even worse. But it needs to be done. I only hope that we don't get much more than some light sprinkles today and I can get some mowing done tomorrow.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My hard drive died. Totally and completely stopped. Wasn't even enough of it left to realize it had died.

And, no. I didn't have a back up. At least not a recent one.

Without the distractions of work and facebook, I was able to do some serious reading (three books in three days!) and some knitting. This sweater/shrug thing was cast on in February and I finished it on Mother's Day.

I'm not a small girl, so I opted for the largest size. Turns out that I didn't need to. The thing is huge! Overall, though, I'm really pleased with it.


Sunday, May 08, 2011

It's Mother's Day and I'm a mom.

That probably doesn't surprise anyone, but there you have it.

Not only am I mom, but I really like being one. It's pretty much my favorite job.

On the other hand, I must have been asked two dozen times what I wanted for Mother's Day and I, frankly, had no clue.

My family, though, knows me. Really, really, well.

My Mother's Day actually started last night. There's an ongoing joke in my house that it's Hubby's job to make the coffee each night before bed. The joke is that the Bible commands him to make the coffee with an entire book devoted to He-brews. (For the record, I never claimed it was a good joke.)

So, last night when Hubby made the coffee, he ground the beans of one of my favorite flavors: Highlander Grog. YUM!

Next came the big "Happy Mother's Day! I love you!" at 12:34 when the kid got home from her date. That was really nice.

This morning I was treated to a breakfast of coffee and chocolate cake (made by the kid). Then the two of us watched "Lovely Bones." The kid had already seen it and had read the book. I hadn't done either before this morning. Sitting on the couch watching the movie reminded me of those long-ago Saturday mornings when the two of us would have chocolate milk and donuts for breakfast and be entertained by cartoons or a Disney marathon. I miss those days...

Now weekends are often filled with her work schedule and time with friends.

After the movie, (and before the kid left for work) I got my other gift. I've mentioned before that I recently got a spinning wheel. I've enjoyed my wheel and am getting lots better. The yarn I spin is getting more even and finer every week. I haven't been happy enough with the end product to actually KNIT anything out of the yarn I've spun, but it's getting there.

Anyway, the family clearly paid attention because I got a box with some beautiful fiber in it. The colors are amazing, don't you think? The picture really doesn't do them justice.

So now I'm sitting here, smelling the pot roast in the crock pot, waiting for both my girls to get here.

I am one lucky Momma...


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Have you ever felt like a complete and total failure?

I don't mean the "gee, I'm just not good at singing" or the "one of these days I plan to run that marathon" type of failure. Hey, some people have a talent or gift for music and some don't. Some people have knees that would survive pounding the pavement for 26.2 miles and some don't have cartilage behind their kneecaps.

I'm talking about the "I just ran 26 of the 26.2 mile marathon, the race organizers saw me coming and then they shut down the race so that I couldn't finish" type of failure. (For the record, I totally can't see me ever running a marathon, so that particular fail will never happen to me.) This is how I feel about my weight.

For about three years I was pretty faithful to Weight Watchers. And I did well. I lost 50 pounds in the first 10 months. Then nothing. Not a dang thing. Well, that's not actually correct. I did lose a little. Then gain it back. Then lose a little. Then gain it back. You get the idea. And at $40 a month, I just couldn't afford to spend the cash on something that I wasn't seeing any benefit from.

Please understand, I am fully aware that I will never be skinny. And even if my waist was tiny, I'd weigh more than other people because of the size of my chest. Hey, those things weigh a bit ya know. The worst part is that there are no plus-size clothing stores around here. There's a Deb. And a Dress Barn. But nothing else, really. Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Target....

It's not like I spend a lot of money on clothes. I don't even like shopping for clothes that much. Well, I do. But I like shopping for clothes that fit. And that's a hard thing to do.

So I get discouraged. Really discouraged. Could I stand to shed a few pounds? Yep. But I also walk three miles a few times a week. I enjoy my wii fit games. Tex says I'm "unusually strong for a girl." I'm not a complete puff ball. But not finding clothes that fit well and are stylish really gets me down.

Working my tail off and not seeing any progress on the scale is even worse.

I can't be the only person who feels this way. I mean, I'm the only one in my house, but I can't be the only one in the world. Can I?


Thursday, April 07, 2011

The current salary for a member of Congress is $174,000 per year. The President of the United States earns (and I use that term loosely) $400,000 per year, plus a $50,000 annual expense account. In contrast a member of the United States military earns between $17,604 and $60,348. (Well, enlisted, that is. A four-star general's pay is equivalent to that of a member of Congress.)

A family of four making $22,350 is on the federal poverty line.

Tomorrow the federal government is scheduled for a shut down. That doesn't mean the military gets to go home. On the contrary. They'll stay where they are. Go to work, fight terrorism, keep our country safe. Firefighters will continue to risk their lives. Police officers will continue to fight crime. They will do it all without a paycheck until Congress can pull their collective heads out of their collective... Well, you get the idea.

The most offensive part of this is who will continue to get paid. Congress. The President. They will continue to receive their paychecks. The people who put their lives on the line. No.

Just thinking about this makes me angry. Beyond angry. I know what it's like to live paycheck to paycheck. My family has a long line of civil service, of putting lives on the line for the greater good of society.

Perhaps we need to re-think the pay Congress receives. In 1789, members of Congress received $6 per day per diem. Adjusting for inflation, that comes to about $151 a day. Last year (2010), the Senate was in session for 158 days. That comes to $23,858 per year. Even if we paid members of Congress for EVERY day of the year, it would be just over $55,000.

Think of the savings! How many members of Congress would be willing to take a pay cut of more than $100,000 per year? My guess is none... Instead, they will continue to look for ways to "balance the budget" without touching whatever effects them. Or the lobbyists who provide the "extras" they receive.

For whatever reason, Congress can't see the importance of those essential personnel who keep chaos at bay. I wonder how many people will be injured—or worse—because the lawmakers are so far removed from reality...


Sunday, April 03, 2011

Don't ya hate it when a favorite piece of clothing is ruined? I do.

I think one of the reasons that it bothers me so dang much is because I don't have a closet full of favorite pieces of clothing. This pink top was one of them.

And it's ruined.

Admittedly, the ruining of the top was totally my fault. I tried to cut a string and missed. Instead I sliced a huge hole in the chest. Putting a patch there wouldn't have been a good look for me.

So I've spent the past hour or so trying to find a replacement top. I got the shirt a year or two ago at Torrid (love that store!). Of course, it's completely out of style now, so they don't have anything like it in their stores. Then again, I don't live anywhere near one, so it's not like I can scour their clearance racks. I'm limited to searching their website.

Once I realized I wasn't going to find the shirt of my dreams that easily, I began searching for a pattern for the top. One of my favorite parts of the shirt was the back. It was a lower cut back and showed my tat. Sweet, huh? Anyway, as I was checking out the Simplicity website, I found three great patterns that might work. I need to head to the fabric store to check them out a little closer.

Searching the site, however, reminded me of how much I really miss sewing. Yeah, I know. Another hobby. Hole in head. Whatever.

I like nice clothes. Most people wouldn't know it, since I'm often seen in jeans and t-shirt. But I really do. I do wish I was a little more "fashion suave." I really have no idea about body shapes (I think I'm an oval, but I'm pretty sure that isn't one of the official shapes) or colors or any of that.

Maybe I'll just stick to my jeans and t-shirts....


Sunday, March 13, 2011

After my last blog post, I had someone from my "in person life" ask me what I did just for me. I knew she'd read the last post because she made a comment about my hobbies and holes in my head. Pretty much a dead giveaway there.

It seemed like a really strange question since we were at a china painting afternoon. (I hesitate to call it a class, because we're all working on different things and the "instructor" is really just there for assistance. Think of it as a Stitch 'N Bitch for china painting.) If I wasn't doing something for ME, why else would I make the time to be there, right?

Except that wasn't exactly true and I knew it. Deep down, I knew it. Hell, she probably knew it, too.

You see, I have this "thing" where I do stuff out of a twisted sense of duty. I can't possibly stop something. Especially if other people expect me to be there or if I have a responsibility of some kind. Really. I'm completely afraid of letting someone down.

I don't much like confrontation. Don't get me wrong, I'm good at it. Well, maybe "good" isn't exactly the right word, but confrontation certainly doesn't frighten me. And I feel sorry for anyone who messes with my kids or their friends or my friends. Maybe it's my overdeveloped sense of justice, but I'm always willing to help out the underdog and usually that requires a confrontation.

But when it comes to me, I don't go looking for confrontation. I avoid it. Probably explains why one person will never know how much I was hurt by a series of events. Talking about it won't change anyone's actions and what's done is done, so why bother. (Are my feelings still hurt? Yeah. But is it worth an argument with the other person? Nope.)

By the way, I do know how passive-aggressive that sounds and I don't mean it to be. I just like harmony in my life.

It's a strange deal. I can honestly say that I don't much care what most people think about me. There are very few people who's opinions of me matter. And the majority of those people are currently asleep under this same roof. Love me or hate me, that's totally your choice and I leave you to it.

Just one more case where I am a bit contradictory.

I know I need to take more time for me. I need to learn to say "no" to someone besides my teenager when she wants a later curfew. I honestly and truly need to de-stress, to take an afternoon off and remember what it's like to play.

And I plan to. I'll put it on my to-do list and hope I get around to it....


Saturday, February 19, 2011

I need another hobby like I need a hole in the head.

Seriously. I have a few holes in my head—one ear pierced twice, one ear pierced three times, my nose pierced. See, I don't need any more holes in my head.

And I have even more hobbies. I knit. I crochet. I read. I make soap. I make candles. I make jewelry. I want to play guitar. I do genealogy. I geocache. I volksmarch. I garden. I enjoy photography. Yeah, I need more freaking hobbies.

It's not like I ONLY do hobbies, either. I have what amounts to two full-time jobs. I am a web designer and a published author. I'm also actively involved in the local writers group, a local business networking organization for women, and three (yes, three) fraternal organizations.

I seriously don't need any more hobbies!!!

BUT, I seem to have two more. I now spin and raise honeybees. Well, in all fairness, the honeybees won't arrive until April, but we've ordered them and the hive and all the jazz that goes with them. It's part of our families commitment to start living off the land more.

So, even if I don't count honeybees as a hobby, I'm now spinning. I mentioned once to hubby that I would like to learn how. I should have known better. There's honestly nothing I've even mentioned I wanted to do or have that (eventually) hubby hasn't gotten for me.

A few months ago, I mentioned to him that I would like to learn to spin. I thought it would be fun. For Christmas, then, he got me a drop spindle and some roving and a gift certificate for the LYS (Local Yarn Shop for those how aren't familiar with the acronym).

So I started with the drop spindle. It was fun and portable and I honestly am not very good at it. Even though I'm not that great with the drop spindle (I haven't even finished the first batch of roving, and I know I'll get better), I was having a great time doing it.

And then came the wheel. It's a Kromski Minstrel and it is beautiful. It's also really easy and even more fun than the drop spindle.

I took it to the spinning group yesterday and the lovely ladies at the LYS helped me get started.

I'm still not done with the first batch of roving on the wheel, but I've made a great start, as you can see. I was even able to spin some last night while I watched television. I don't have any illusions that this first batch of yarn will be perfect for lace socks or anything, but I do think it will be usable for something.

So I've officially added another hobby to my repertoire and I couldn't be happier!

However, I have no plans to add any additional holes in my head.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

It started with a gorilla, the need for privacy and cat number 3.

Yeah, that probably doesn't make sense, does it?

Let me explain. A few months ago, the youngest kid was in a rummage sale/thrift shop/garage sale mood. She and a friend were hitting the sales every weekend.

That's where the gorilla came in.

One weekend, the kid came home with a stuffed gorilla. A huge stuffed gorilla. An ugly, huge stuffed gorilla. I mean, this thing is probably three feet tall and fairly realistic looking. Except maybe for the duct tape around the foot.

Being the mom I am, I told her to make sure it got washed before she put it on her bed. And being the mostly-good kid that she is. She did.

Next came the need for privacy. The kid is 17 and a senior in high school. She has a job and does volunteer work. It feels like she's never home! She has a loft bed with a couch underneath and no closet doors, which makes it sometimes look like her closet has vomited into the rest of the room. And she's a bit of a fashionista, so there are clothes and shoes....

So often the door to her room is shut. She's not the kind of kid who freaks out when her dad or I enter the room when she's not home (or even if she is home!), but the door is often shut. Then again, the door doesn't latch really well and is easy pushed open—even if the door is completely closed. Therefore, if the door is shut at 7 a.m., it may be wide open by 10 a.m. and no humans have entered.

And we have cats. Four of them. Yes, I'm aware that crazy people have lots of cats. I still think the cat-to-house ratio should be three. Meaning that at three cats, the people in the house are still sane. At four, they become the "crazy, cat people." That's beside the point.

Anyway, cat number three is somewhere between 8 and 10 years old (I don't remember...must be the crazy, cat woman in me), and was born in our wood pile. The kid was around 8 or 9 the summer hubby paid her $1 for ever stray kitten she could catch. All but one found other homes. One stayed here.

Cat number three has always been tiny. And a bit of a fraidy cat. She very much doesn't like change. So when cat number four was introduced to the mix, cat number three got mad. She took to sleeping in the kid's room, since cat number four wouldn't leave the master bedroom or laundryroom. Of course, that has more to do with dog number three than anything else.

So, cat number three has been sleeping on the kid's bed. The big ugly gorilla has been on the kid's bed. For some reason when the big ugly gorilla showed up, cat number three started pooping on the bed. EWWWWWWWW......

By the time I realized that the cat messes started shortly after the ugly gorilla showed up, this had happened probably five or six times. Now I'm in the process of trying to remove the stink. OK, the kid's room doesn't really stink any more than any other teenage girl's room, but I'm almost positive that the cat can still smell something. And I want that matress disinfected. I considered buying a new one, but she is leaving for college in a few months and I can think of more pressing items to spend our funds on.

Now I'm looking for ways to get the yucky out. I found four "Febreeze-type" recipes at and am looking for comments. Here are the recipes and the URL:

Recipe #1

1 cup fabric softener
1 cup white vinegar
2 cups water

Recipe #2

2 cups water
1 cup fabric softener

Recipe #3

3 cups water
3 TBS fabric softener
3 TBS rubbing alcohol

Recipe #4

2 cups water (warm)
1/4 cup fabric softener
1 TBS baking soda

Or do you have a better one? I plan to use one today and see if it helps with the kid's room.


Wednesday, January 05, 2011

I don't do resolutions. No one sticks to them anyway. I do, however, do goals. I have lots of goals. No, really. I have a "you-know-what" load of them. And every December I create ones for the upcoming year.* This year's goals, a little late, are as follows:

  • Writing 10,000 words a week. This will finish the current novel and get a solid start on the next. Of course, that doesn't count blog posts, which I also plan to be better at.
  • Six new web design clients. This is what allows me to buy all the yarn and books I want.
  • Practice a healthy lifestyle. I'm really tired of trying to loose weight, but I do want to be healthy. That means I'll do yoga daily and use my wii for more than just Netflix.
  • Homestead my land. Yes, I have land. Yes, I want to do a garden. And hubby likes to hunt. So that's probably going to be among the easiest of my goals.
  • Spend time on my hobbies. I want to have a new knit or crocheted or sewn project completed each month. I also want to learn to play the guitar.
  • Get serious about my spirituality. My beliefs are eclectic, to say the least. But they are mine and I need to make the time to connect with them.
So there you have it. My goals for 2011. Wish me luck!


*Yes, I'm aware of how much that sounds like a resolution. But it's not. Because I said so.