Friends, Happiness, Love, Truth

Whole

broken

I talked to a friend today about feeling broken. It’s human nature to take things that hurt, personally. If I know one thing well, it’s disappointment.

I really have been through hell the past two years. Hell… and I’m talking about the hardcore bitch version of hell, not the painted-on-hands princess sort of idea of what hell may be like. Envision having a bad day, a few hundred times over… That was me. Resiliency had become my uniform. I’d perfected the art of accepting anything and expecting nothing.

I’ve stepped up to the plate again and again after being blown out of the water and devastated by another bad experience. I left plenty of baggage behind while continuing to search for love and happiness. The problem with love and happiness is that it isn’t hiding, and you can’t find it. The problem with real honest-to-goodness committed love is that it has to find you.

That quote that says “Women who chase men, only catch the slow ones”? That’s the gospel.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the problem lies with me and who I choose if the pattern is always repeating. I see a charming snake of a disinterested cheater/liar smile at me and now know that my racing heart is the universe telling me to RUN. My taste is bad so I am choosing to no longer sit at the table.

Some men are equally as vulnerable as we are. Shitty women are just as poisonously bad as shitty men and there are some scary bitches that could make a sympathetic victim out of the biggest douche bag. I know a few… and one in particular came to mind today. I’m reminded again that some men experience the same things we do. They have soft spots, tender feelings and just as much desire as we do to love someone. We need to be just as careful with them as we want them to be with us.

The women that talk about their husband like he’s the best thing since sliced bread? They’re married to one of those nice guys. They’re loved by a healthy man who safeguards her happiness as much as his own. That’s all it takes. I know some very happily married women. It’s awesome and I’m proud. I point to them when I teach my kids about what marriage should look like.

Unfortunately and more often than not… nice girls end up loving the guy who can be the biggest asshole while simultaneously making her feel the most unwanted or insecure… and nice men end up loving the black widow sort of entrails-eating women we don’t like either. Ask any woman. We all know a woman who’s skeletons make us feel SO much better about our own full closet. I may have done some crazy shit in my time, but I know a few women who’s secrets make me blush and that’s saying something.

What it really boils down to is this: there are some really bad people out there. There are some really great people too. I know a few men that give me absolute faith in their gender. My happily married friends are inspirational.  My baby sister loves and is adored by, her husband. I know the finest women.

Sadly enough… if you don’t play the games, you lose the war. It’s tragic, pathetic and unavoidable.

The world is full of broken people but if you’re attracted to people who break you, you need to love yourself enough to be alone until that changes.

Feeling broken sucks and unfortunately there are people in the world who approach love like a contest, a lottery or a war. Save yourself. Just say no to anyone who doesn’t have the best intentions where your heart is concerned.

I’m healing from the disappointment of being wrong, again. Until I can have faith in men again and believe I could love one that tells the truth, I’m ruling out men entirely. I brought a whole bunch of baggage with me this time and I’m blissfully happily single as a result.

Relationships are supposed to feel good and add to your life and that’s not my experience anymore. I’d rather take another walk with my baby. Catch a movie with my teenaged daughter. I’d rather sew the baby a quiet book to play with and learn from. I’d rather plant my garlic.

Basically I’d rather love the people who love me back and not waste any of the time I could be spending with friends on someone who isn’t making the same investment.

I’m single, but I’m whole- not broken. I’m alone, but not lonely. Finally smart, but not naive.

Join me 🙂

Family, Farming, Food, Happiness, Victory!

Fresh Butternutty Goodness

I love love love seeing 10 hits on my blog. I feel like celebrating.

Gone are those 1000+ days. Amen.

I deleted all the baggage and cut all my ties.

I’ve been watching Hoarders lately and felt the same way about my blog. It had piles of shit I didn’t like, recognize or want anymore. It was so infested with douche bags and liars that the clean up would have been exhausting and endless- so instead I just burnt the whole fucker down- like most of the people on that show should do with their houses!

🙂 Ahhh. Peace. Clean sheets, new socks and your favorite sweatpants, sort of cozy freshness.

I’d documented my midlife crisis and sad attempts at having faith in the worst of humanity and took the last, very necessary response… and threw it all into the fire.

When you don’t like the view in the rear-view mirror anymore, you need a change of scenery and a fresh perspective.

Now I don’t mind writing anymore, though I may bore everyone to death with recipes, teething woes and too much gardening…

but at the very least… you’ll get to eat great food because I’m a domestic whirlwind these days. Behold! The perfect butternut squash soup, in my not-so-humble opinion… to celebrate this nice clean house.

My Better Butternut soup

8 cups good chicken stock. I make mine- you can do the same easily or buy it pre-made. Buy the organic one, really… because commercial chickens are perhaps the least respected meat raised and you should do your part to stop it. Even if your part is lazy- it counts. Ish.

1/2 c. Butter

2 c. Shallots. They’re the Filet Mignon of onions- trust me- spend the extra $.

3 cloves Garlic, minced, and while you’re at it- plant some! Garlic goes in to the ground this week and it’s so delicious home grown!

3.5-4 lb Butternut squash. Peel, seed and chop it into cubes. It’s a smooth textured winter squash and its glorious if you’re type A like me and want to see perfect orange cubes in a big white bowl.

2 c. Pumpkin puree. Finally something to make with all those pumpkins from the garden or in a can from the store- it all tastes the same.

1 c. Half & half

Just typing this recipe up makes me want to go make some more, and I just finished the batch I made this week for breakfast this morning.

s1

Dice your shallots and garlic while the butter melts in your stock pot. Let them soften over low-medium heat until they’re translucent. Add your chicken broth and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add your butternut squash cubes and pumpkin puree.  Simmer until the cubes of squash are soft and use your stick blender (don’t tell me you don’t have one. Go buy one!) until roughly half the cubes of butternut squash are blended. It will be a creamy lumpy texture and smell like heaven. Salt & pepper to taste.

s2

Add your half & half and stir, stir, stir. I usually make some naan or croutons to go along with it, but it’s good all by itself too. Enjoy a fresh & happy fall!

mmm

Blogging, Family, Friends, Halloween, Happiness, Hope, Love, Victory!, Yarden

Grandma

I had someone ask me if my baby was my grand-baby the other day. Seriously. My Little Red looked up in horror at the person and half shouted that her sister was NOT HER BABY.

I laughed. I was stunned at the thought, but… I’d had a baby 18 years earlier and my mother was the same age I was when my son was born. Good Lord in the morning… what an amazing difference to feel like the “old” mom.

So I went to a mommy & me group. I’m staying home with Muffin right now and I figured it would do us both well to get out and about.

I walked in wearing my favorite yoga pants and nursing shirt, My uniform du jour, so to speak. Wandering through a sea of bejeweled postpartum asses, I feel like the sharpest tool in the shed. What’s up with the bejeweled ass pants? I don’t get it.  Perhaps when I was 16?  It was awkward… but I was willing to suffer a little for some adult conversation. Ish.

I start to notice things.

They’re all younger than me.

I hate to say that was my first thought, but it was. So there it is. They all drive nicer cars than me. Ok so that’s petty but I had to laugh about it too since I’m so damn thankful I don’t have a car payment to be late on right now.

They’re all worried about being hot for their husbands/boyfriends.

I’m the only single mom.

I keep hearing them refer to me as “You two” as in, my husband and I… not my little baby and I. I’m happy I’m over 30 and dealing with this sort of shit. I can remember feeling really uncomfortable at the absence of a wedding ring on my finger when I was pregnant with my son, at 18. I do not feel that way anymore. I’m happy with the silky nakedness of my ring finger.

I explained quickly, smiled widely and reassured the few naysayers.

Blonde idiot: Oh my word I could NEVER do it without my Huuuuuuuusband. He is my rock. He is my man. I am so tired and if he didn’t do all those night time feedings I would just break down and DIE

I’m judging her before she opens her mouth to tell me these things so there’s no point in pretending I’m not. She’s a grade A, fresh off the subdivision, Walmart girl. She doesn’t breastfeed <sneer> she doesn’t get up with her baby <sneer> and she’s one of “those” women.

Those women: The women who can’t think clearly without a man telling them which way to go. Uck.

J- We do really well. That’s wonderful of your husband to help so much.

It’s amazingly uncomfortable, to be honest. They pretty much just chat amongst themselves… about things like baby shoes and strollers. Some of them are gluten free. That’s fun.

It is too much to ask for an adult mom friend? I can’t tolerate the youngsters. I admit it. I hate myself for it because I can remember clearly how the “judgey” older moms were so frustrating to me. I was a good mom, and they weren’t nice to me because of my age.

I am now that “judgey” older mom, and I can’t do it. I don’t want to hear them chat. I care about the world, at large… beyond the superficial “We went with the Bugaboo. What did you two decide on?” I hate to stereotype them. Truly, I do… but the shoe fits and it’s too damn tacky.

I’m not going back to “group”. In fact I wonder if I can make a group for old moms. I wanna talk about politics and healthcare. I want to have friends who give a shit about GMO’s.

I’m a new old mom, and I love every single bit of it.

Even being called Grandma. I just don’t want to hang out with my old self anymore.

That baby of mine is nothing but pure love & joy. Her and I have gotten our routine down. She gets up at unspeakably early hours. I sing to her day and night. Life is an awesome bunch of grins and details.  I never thought this would be my life. I had this beautiful baby because I loved her daddy so much I lost sight of the fact that sometimes things don’t work out. I never thought I’d be raising a baby alone, however… I treasure every second.

I could care less if her socks match or she’s in the same pajamas for the second day in a row. I show her everything until she smiles. I sing the ingredients I’m using to can marinara if she gets fussy while I’m rushing to get it done in between nursing and patty cake. I make a point to write the love notes in my teenagers lunch box. I remember all over again what it’s like to have a newborn that takes so much energy and inspires that much ooey-gooey adoration for just laying there like a potato.

With no child support & no second set of hands, the eyeliner and primping have to go. I have clean clothes on and her pants are dry- everything is just as it should be.  I’m thankful that she’s unscathed by it all. She’s just happy and loved and protected from everything that isn’t perfectly wonderful and happy. I could care less about makeup.

I’m going to make my own group.

For the moms who want to make friends but don’t want to change into something less comfortable.

For the moms without dads.

For the mom who is thankful for the blessing of motherhood.

For the mom, like me… that treasures every exhausted moment that makes life worth living.

I wanna hang out with those moms. Or Grandmas.

Food, Recipes

Salsa for Canning Recipe

salsa

This is absolutely my favorite recipe and it’s taken a decade to perfect. Enjoy!

Heirloom Salsa

10 c chopped tomatoes

5 c bell peppers

5 c onions

2 1/2 c peppers. (Be sure to remove the seeds if you want to keep your salsa mild!)

1 1/4 c lime juice

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 bunch of cilantro, chopped

3 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 can of tomato paste (optional)

This is so easy and so ridiculously time consuming… but worth every minute spent until you’re placing the jars in your pantry! Throw all your ingredients in a stock pot and let simmer on low until the flavors are combined and your salsa has thickened to your liking. Fill sterilized canning jars, adjust lids and process in a hot water bath canner. 20 minutes for pints, 30 minutes for salsa

tomatoes

I can’t recommend highly enough to mix and match your flavors. I made a batch of Brandywine tomato & habanero pepper salsa this week that is amazing, and my Aunt Ruby’s German Green tomato & jalapeno mild salsa is equally as delicious. You can tailor this recipe to fit your heat preference and favorite flavors. Be sure to remember that salsa continues to get hotter after canned if you leave the seeds in the peppers!

Happy dipping!

Children, Crafting, Family, Farming, Happiness, knitting, Love

Foundation

I have an old cedar deck on the front of my house, and in one spot, the boards are being pulled a different direction by the house. I know a problem when I see one. Thankfully after 37 years I also know when it’s a problem I am not equipped to repair by myself. It’s a foundation issue.

Such was my life. Being pulled in a million directions results in you neglecting the priorities you really want to prioritize. I was scattered. Flailing. Desperate.

Not at all how anyone would like to be described.

And just like these boards of mine, I started from the top and have worked my way down. Ish.

I had faith in love again and was disappointed when it went sour. It happens. I’m definitely jaded at this point and have happily burned my V card. I intend to live out my life with a houseful of happiness. (and a dozen cats).

I’ve learned to recognize when I’m not good at something and let it go. I realized how much I needed my mom in my life, and we’ve never been closer after realizing that it’s time spent, that counts. She’s given me a million things over the years, but the week she spent with me after my baby was born wove the frayed ends of our bond back together again.

Ripping down the foundation means you have to put it back together brick by brick… and you only use the bricks you know to be the best. You pick your favorites and leave the broken empty bullshit in the pile.

When you only foster and encourage the best parts of you, every day counts. I’m living proof of the power of having faith in yourself and the ability to change your life.

I had a beautiful baby in July and she lights my life in more ways than I can describe …while she grins and poops at the same time. I still pinch myself every time she wakes me from the four hour power naps I survive on. She wakes up with a big smile and we get our routine on with a little Biggie Smalls. She’s my little Muffin.

muffin

My day begins with a diaper to change, diapers to wash. Jammies to hang up. Smiley baby to nurse. Lunch to pack.

Her big sister is a full fledged teenager, fighting me when she spots my weaknesses. I love her to bits and remember what it was like with her big brother and realize it’s just how they are. I’ve had a baby in each stage of my life. My teens (19), my twenties (24) and now my thirties (37). It’s all so different and similar at the same time. I have so much more patience now- and I feel bad for my older kids because they had the drill sergeant asshole mom.  The midlife crisis mom. Muffin gets the best of me. The weathered, hardened and tempered steel strong lady I’ve grown into. The mom who know knows dessert for dinner is healthy sometimes. The everything-can-wait-let’s read-another-book mom. The mom who makes the damn kids help in the garden. I’ve learned through success and failure to focus on what’s important and leave the rest behind.

I miss my coworkers. I miss having something to talk about beyond baby smiles, infant milestones and canning…. but I’m loving my life these days. I’m living in the moment and treasuring each one.

yarden2013

I grew that damn enormous acre of vegetables and it’s downright terrifying how many heirloom tomatoes I have. A thousand pounds, perhaps? More? It’s beyond epic. It’s a biomass.

toms

Gardening while growing a human is not for the faint of heart. I pulled off the impossible. It was spectacular- and froze last week (Thank GAWD) It wasn’t bad while I was pregnant, and actually helped my back feel better. It was soothing while I was nesting and needed more to clean. It’s amazing how many weeds I pulled with a 45 inch waistline. Muffin was born right when it started to produce and things got a little crazy. You can’t take a newborn into the blazing sun and the weeds grew right along with the plants, which I never found time to fertilize.

somanyheirlooms

Thank God, all the angels & saints too… because I would have had to call the gleaners to help take some of it away.

 

pantry

I’m canning with a newborn, which is intense- to say the least. I dice tomatoes… then sing patty-cake. Nap time for baby means running a few dozen jars of sauce, salsa, tomatoes, etc through the canner. My pantry is beautiful, and I treasure these months I’ve been devoting myself at home, full time. I love having all the laundry done. I smile when I see a fresh tablecloth on the kitchen table. I like cleaning light fixtures. I’m contemplating painting. It feels good to make home feel cozy and beautiful again. Getting rid of the excess and only keeping your favorite things results in a nice tidy home full of everything you love most. All bets are off where my crafty stuff is concerned.

One cannot own too much yarn, fabric or buttons. These are facts.

I’m baking again which is sinfully good and terrible for my ass at the same time. I roasted a baby sugar pumpkin from the garden yesterday and I’m making a few pumpkin rolls today. The house smells like a mom lives here again. I can’t even get a thigh in my old jeans. Damn. Pregnancy at 37 doesn’t go away as fast as it does when you’re younger… but I’ll get there. Right after this pumpkin roll… 🙂 I really don’t care, to be completely honest. I’m focusing on being a great mother, being a better friend and appreciating the people and season. There’s plenty of time for working out when this baby isn’t so tiny and new. If this sweet chubby babylove of mine is any indication, my breast milk is more like heavy cream.

hat

I spent nap time sewing for my baby sister yesterday. Her baby is due any day and they did not find out their baby’s gender. It’s fabulously exciting, but a pain in the ass when you’re buying or making gifts. I hope like crazy it’s a girl because her and Muffin would be so close in age. Either way, it was so nice to fire up the Pfaff again. I padded her presents with baby potatoes and actually managed to get it in the mail in time to make it there for her shower… I hope.

I started running again this week after trading a years worth of garden produce for an awesome jogging stroller. Muffin loves it and I’m happy to resume a healthy habit that makes me feel so much better.

Rebuilding a foundation takes time and patience but having strong footing makes all the difference. Ridding yourself of the junk that holds you back and drowns you out, frees up a lot of time to focus on the things you love.

So I’ve cleaned the house, put away enough food for a damn army and knit 4 hats, a sweater and one bootie.

homegrown

I grew a baby, grew a garden and kept stacking away on my new foundation. I’ve only used the bricks that make me a maternal bad ass with a black belt in organic gardening. I threw out the bullshit, burned the trash and life has never been more peaceful.

One of these days I’m going to get around to fixing that deck.