Write on…

It’s been a long year. In fact…it’s been a long decade.

I finished planting my garden earlier than ever last year. My corn was a huge success for the first time! The pumpkin patch of my dreams, was a reality. Through morning and afternoon baby naps, I managed to get it planted and weeded. It was actually beautiful… but sobering. I CAN grow an acre of vegetables and bottle enough to feed an army, but I don’t NEED to. I’ve given up on the fantasy of my children loving to garden, and I remember clearly how much I hated it as a child. I’m determined to cut back this year so that it’s a blessing, not a burden.

I figured it may be relaxing to write again, if only for myself. I get the nicest emails from people, asking me why I don’t write anymore. I’m not sure how to answer that?

I’m a different person than I used to be. Growing up, and more importantly fucking up; changes you. I guess you could say that I finally learned from my mistakes. As a result of my relationship failing, finding myself as a single mother with a teenager AND a newborn and a side of heartache… I grew up. I’m slowly finding my footing again, while carefully choosing each step with the knowledge that the wrong one can have lasting consequences.

I’m a little sad to see my tiny one grow so fast and I miss her infancy when I see newborns. She lights the whole world up with her constant smile, hilarious laughter and baby chatter. I don’t know how we ever lived without the joy and love she brings to everyone and everywhere. She’s nothing short of magical. I’m that annoying friend on Facebook who shamelessly inundates everyone with baby pictures and videos.

The teenager is absolutely frustratingly normal. Most days I’m the stupidest person in the world and live purely to thwart her plans for part of the day, and her best friend the other half. I am proud of the young lady I know that she is, and hopeful she’ll escape our small town after graduation to pursue her dreams. I’m grateful for the friendship I have with her dad and step-mother.

All in all, and in every aspect; life has calmed down. The custody war has long ended and my relationship with my baby girl’s dad is peaceful and friendly. He’s dating an old friend and has moved back to Colorado to live with her. He calls regularly and I hang pictures of him around the house so she sees his face. She’s just begun to say Daddy. I’m grateful she will grow up surrounded with love, not hostility. I never dreamed in a million years that I’d be raising a baby alone, but I treasure every single second and appreciate that he does everything he can do from thousands of miles away.

We’ve learned to coexist, sleep, love and make the most of every moment in the last year. We’ve weathered financial devastation, laughed through a lot of creative pasta and rice dishes and have found a new-found peace in being carnivorous vegetarians. We all love a good steak but we can afford veggies, and I grew enough to feed us all winter.

Life has changed and it isn’t what I thought it would be, but it is absolutely joyous and full of everything simple and sweet that I treasure most.

The last vestiges of babyhood have been hard to pack away. A long-outgrown bassinet stands in the corner of my room, because I love it too much to part with it. Baby shoes, pacifiers and miniature socks clutter the top of my dresser. It’s a strange mix, no matter where you look. My black work apron, a few pens, a wine key and wilted gardenia still hooked by the bobby pin that held it in my hair all night. A school progress report for Little Red, lipgloss and an antique jar of buttons. My latest knitting pattern, some industrial foot cream for my mangled server feet and a stack of bills. As always, my crafts create a happy clutter that reminds me to take time to create. My vices are all healthy, and I am definitely guilty of being a little boring these days. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’m only growing three varieties of tomatoes this year. I did away with my whimsical round garden and have practical, straight rows. I wouldn’t say I’m disenchanted… more so that I’ve gotten an epic reality check. I don’t want to be bitter and jaded, but my fairy-tales turn into nightmares when I least expect them to and my heart is not a good judge of character. Consequently… I have taken myself out of the pool, entirely, and permanently.

Never. Another. Boyfriend. I have two cats… and I’d be delighted to adopt a dozen more.

IMG_7334Being boring is awesome. ♥

Plan B.

I woke up before dawn on Sunday, to a sweet smiling toddler with an an avocado obsession.

B- Cado, mommy. Cado.

We’re out of ‘cados, so we have to get up and get dressed to go find some at the store. I’m exhausted and in desperate need of coffee, but realize as soon as we walk in to Safeway, that I’ll need something to distract her with if I really intend to wait in line. Everyone else wants coffee this morning too. I consider the immediate options available to me and remember that she’s learned the magic of a band-aid this week. Her last tattered Minnie Mouse bandage had fallen off on our way out the door this morning. We rush down the health/first aid aisle first… in search of some new cartoon icon band-aids  to replenish our stash.

I catch sight of an old man, slowly searching through the disposable razors, the antacids and shaving cream. I hear him grumble about not being able to find something.

I’m a server. I really cannot stop myself from helping someone, no matter where or when. I’m tired… but I love the grey-hairs and he is looking more anxious by each frantic second.

So I offer.

J- Can I help you? I hate to eavesdrop but you seem to need a little help and this is the only place I shop. This is my store. I hate to say I know where everything is, but I do.

He looks relieved and because his phone is on speakerphone, I can hear his wife, clearly.

W- You never look. I could be standing beside you holding it and you couldn’t find it in my hands. For Pete’s sake.

He turns his back to me and barks briskly into the phone.

H- Would you like me to put the nice woman who offered to help me on the phone? I’m doing my best.

W- Oh My GOD damn it, Howard, you asked for help? How embarrassing.

I smiled at him to let him I know I was not a crazy person, and he opened his mouth and leveled me.

H- I’m looking for Plan B or the Morning After Pill.

W- It’s not called the morning after pill anymore, it’s just Plan B.

You could have knocked me over with a feather. I fought back laughter and leveled with him.

J- I’ve only gotten it once and I had to get it from the Health Department.

Which he relays, loudly, over the loudspeaker on his phone.

H- It’s not here Dear. She got it from the Health Clinic. Is this, Oh for hell sakes, stop shouting at me.

W- We sound like perverts. Come home. I’ll get it myself.

Meanwhile, I’ve led him to the condom/pregnancy test/tampon aisle. The pharmacy is closed and it’s the only place I can imagine it’d be.

It’s not there. You can cure a stinky vag, replenish your feminine hygiene basket and prevent pregnancy… all in the same 10 feet.

Alas, you cannot stop a misfire spermatozoa from landing his lady outside of pharmacy hours.

She’s furious. He’s frustrated. I’m crimson and biting the inside of my cheeks to hold it together.

W- Let the poor woman go. How embarrassing.

H- You’re embarrassed? A complete stranger just led me to the condoms and pregnancy tests.

I’m coughing to keep from laughing. He stammers a “thank you” in my direction and I walk away before dissolving into giggles. I was shopping for Band-aids, so we went back down the other side only to hear more of their conversation.

W- I should have gone myself.

H- It’s the Superbowl and the pharmacy is closed. I can buy condoms or pregnancy tests, which feel late and early, considering.

W- Take a picture and send it to me.

H- I’m never shopping here again. Pour me a scotch.

Wouldn’t you know it… that coffee line had emptied by the time we’d secured our Doc McStuffin’s and Hello Kitty Bandaids after the wild goose chase for the Plan B.

Never a dull moment. Never a bad day.

Dear Mom Who Thinks I Need to Vaccinate My Kids Against Measles

:

My sentiments, exactly. Thank you, Levi!

Originally posted on Levi Quackenboss:

shutterstock_157245107Guest Post by Lazarus T. Jones

Yeah, I’m totally going there. I know this vaccination subject is pretty touchy with the undertones of intolerance, discrimination, and bigotry and all, but after seeing a letter written to a “mom who decided not to vaccinate her kids against measles,” I just couldn’t sit by while parents are thrown under the bus and innocent kiddos get sick and die.

To be perfectly frank, I was a bit offended that this letter wasn’t written to dads too but for the sake of prioritizing stupid, there are more important things to address…like the fact that kids in this country do not “get sick and die” from measles. Hello? When was the last time a kid died from measles in America? Here’s a clue…it wasn’t yesterday. Disney ain’t deadly and neither are the measles.

So here goes.

Dear Mom who thinks I should vaccinate…

View original 1,263 more words

Recovered Shitter

In my rapid descent to dating hell, I went through a bartender phase. As you can imagine, it did not go well.

Bartenders are a rough bunch, and Mr. Hmmm was no exception. He was sober when I met him, and very well spoken. Beeeeeautiful, black, built and bald. My absolute favorite, and a Holy Grail in my small white town. He created quite a stir.

He had a weakness for farmers… and I certainly can hold my own. He was charming, smart and funny. We went out a few times and then he shit in my bed.

Game Over. Gross. I would have taken the horror to my grave if I hadn’t been approached by another woman in the bar one night, to tell me she’d gone out with him the week before and he’d shit in her bed. True story.

Imagine the hilarity that ensued after reading an article my dear Beautymom sent me.

I’m really happy he’s in recovery. It’s one thing to be a drunk. It’s entirely another if you’re going around shitting yourself  and defiling Egyptian cotton.

Dear Lord, please let me die a happy, single old lady; in a house full of cats.

A Little Bit Closer

Originally posted on Oh No She Diiint:

Meet Alex:

photo

My new breakfast and current partner-in-crime. He doesn’t want his face to be shown because he thinks it objectifies his delicious body. I just want to show everyone what I had for breakfast…

Now meet me: clearly the fatal attempt of the pretty girl straddle isn’t working and my new lover should be more than slightly embarrassed for me… and him.

My lover is probably the flossiest person I have ever dated. He’s got better hair than I do, perfect teeth, rubs my feet, and too boot, he’s a top-notch kiteboard slayer, which I totally make sound not so cool, but it’s actually one of the sexiest sports to see live. Especially when you get to take them home after and warm them up… Anyway, he’s pretty awesome and I’ll stop with my gushy love-bird mess because it is making me want to vomit, which we will get…

View original 1,021 more words

The Holy Grail of Knitting Patterns

I learned to knit when I put my children through Waldorf school. My poor son hated knitting and would offer to trade me chores for my knitting his flute bag. I loved it. He did not understand.

I decided the first year that I’d learned to knit fairly well that I’d make them stuffed animals. I bought an adorable pattern on Ravelry, ordered beautiful yarn for each of them and sat down to whip them right out.

elijah

Holy hannah… they were made with tiny needles and there were stitches I’d never seen and didn’t make sense to read. I got the first half done and ended up with a blue trunk/head object that looked like blue fuzzy scrotum. Ugh.

I’d already fantasized about  a darling matching set of hand-knit Elijah elephants dangling out of stockings on Christmas eve/morning. I knew I didn’t have time to spend the time getting them done by the holiday, so I started to search for someone that could make them. I Googled “knit animals, knit toys and knit for children… and found the most amazing and inspirational woman.

Julie Williams, of Little Cotton Rabbits.

Her blog popped up and I fell in love with her little English garden. I grew to admire her as I read about her knitting peacefully with her Autistic son. I loved how she spoke about her daughter. Most of all?

lcrgang

I wanted one of her little animals so badly I was considering bribing someone who won to let me buy theirs. Julie was a mother and woman first and the demand for her beautiful creations far exceeded how many she could produce. People stole her ideas left and right and still, and whilst defending herself; she did the best she could to knit as many as possible. People began to complain the sales were rigged and whined that they were being intentionally denied an opportunity to have a coveted Little Cotton Rabbit. She would list them randomly and it was the basically the luck of who got there… but there did seem to be people who sat and did nothing but hit the refresh button in anticipation of her listing one for sale. I remember reading a comment from a woman that had three of them. I was instantly bitter and could not believe she would continue snatching the treasures up while some of us didn’t even have ONE yet! I realized I was obsessed.

bunny

I was never lucky enough to win the opportunity to buy one.

She finally had to resort to using a random number generator to choose who got to the chance to buy one. I gave up.  She’s been the first link in my computer for years.

My ex got married a few years ago and my daughter was nervous about her first trip on an airplane without me. She was clingy weepy about it and I wanted to send something small and made with love to comfort her in my absence. I sat down with my needles and copied the bunny I coveted, to the best of my ability. It was absolute hell, but Bailey the Bunny was exactly what my baby girl needed to feel safe. I sprayed her tummy with my perfume and wrapped her in her suitcase. She loved her and I swore I’d never make another one…. until my favorite Aunt had a baby girl. I used the beloved Alpaca yarn I’d had stashed for a special project, and Vera the bunny was sent off with great love.

bailey

I’ve tweaked my pattern over the years, but I always felt a little… wrong about the whole thing.

I’d absolutely copied her pattern as best I could- and it wasn’t to cheat her or avoid paying for something. I couldn’t buy one…. and she didn’t sell the pattern.

Bailey and Vera were gifts of great love and SO hard to knit… but more than that- I’d loved those cotton bunnies for so many years and wanted my little girls to have one.

Along those lines, I’m making all of my Christmas gifts this year and I’m determined to knit something for everyone. I would love to knit everyone something special, though I can’t imagine being able to pull it off this year.  I tucked a sleepy baby in my bathrobe and sat down with my tea this morning to look at patterns on Ravelry. I clicked on the Little Cotton Rabbits page and nearly fell off of my chair.

You can buy the bunny pattern.

bunnyforsale

You can buy the dress pattern.

dresses4sale

There is a Santa Claus.

I bought them immediately and opened directly to the foot, which is knitting purgatory. Baby Quinn’s bunny still only has one leg. I read the instructions and nearly cried. It’s so perfectly neat and beautifully simple. Just like everything I’ve seen about Julie.

I’m both honored and excited to share this link. Go buy this pattern and fill the lives of the little ones you love…

With REAL Little Cotton Rabbits.

I’m still so excited I feel like Santa came early… and seeing the little foxes lets me know that someday… if I’m patient and wait my turn…

She’s going to sell the elephant pattern too.

I’m beside myself with geeky knitter joy that I can actually make my babylove a REAL rabbit, just like the beautiful creations Julie’s made that have evaded capture.

Now I can give my darling knitter friend S the link to the REAL pattern… because I still can’t find one of the 5 post-it notes I wrote my borrowed pattern on.

I’m so incredibly happy to be able to support such a wonderful woman. I have 2 bunnies already started and I’m happiest most of all that two of them will be dangling out of stockings this year!!!

omgcute

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 :)