Day 19: What do you most wish you were great at?

1. Thinning the carrots in the garden. I suck at ripping 3/4th of them out, so they’re always crowded, too small, misshapen and weird. I grow horrible carrots and it’s my greatest shame as a farm girl. It’s one of those things that is part of my character. I can’t casually throw away something that I made. I give it the benefit of the doubt and even when it clearly looks stunted and in need of discarding… I keep trying to save them all. It’s not a great trait to possess when you’re growing root vegetables (or dating). Bless all my little beets and carrots- I can’t pick one over the other so they’re all going to have a hard time reaching their full potential.

2. Letting go. I worry about people’s feelings more than I should. I overthink everything. I can’t tell you the horrible paths my mind went down today because even I know I’m imagining the worst things at will. I wish I were great at saying “Cest la vie” with a smile and a tip of my champagne glass… but assuming the worst is more my weakness and I make even slightest hiccup into a heart attack. Death is extremely hard for me and I wish I could find the peace and joy in happy memories… but letting go is tantamount to giving up for me, and I fight it tooth and nail.

3. Hunting. Random, I know… but I want to shoot an elk, gut it and chop it up to fill my freezer. I loved dissection in science and I’m not squeamish. I grow a million things, but at the end of the long day and night of weeding, pruning and staking them… all I want is a steak. I have too tender of a heart to grow a cow to eat, but I could joyfully hunt a wild one down. I’m determined to learn.

4. Fishing. Along those same lines… I really want to catch a pike. I’m seeing my friends post pictures of them lately and I want one. I work for an Alaskan based company and I REALLY want to go fishing for salmon, halibut, cod and the rest of their magical assortment of delicious fish. I’d rather go fishing than to a spa… so perhaps I just need to book a trip and go already. Why wait?

5. Laundry. I’m great at washing and drying it… but folding it is right up there with the gynecologist for me. I’d rather die than fold ten loads of laundry and that’s what I face each Saturday. Yes, I know I should get rid of some sheets. Have less dish towels…. etc. I don’t want to. I have more drawers in my kitchen than you can imagine and plenty of space to encourage me to have seasonal linens. I just wish with my whole heart that I loved to fold them when they were hot out of the dryer.

6. Balancing work and home. I’m so damn exhausted on Saturday that I let my Dumpling veg out in front of the TV or electronics. I let her eat popsicles. I’m THAT mom who overcompensates for the mom guilt of school + daycare that puts a 6 year old into a 40 hour work week. It’s shitty and I feed her more corn dogs than her older siblings got to eat. Little Red sees Twinkies in the cupboard and shakes her head at me.

LR: Where did these come from and WHO are you? We were never allowed to have these.

Me- Eat one, they’re gross. You weren’t missing out on anything. It’s just not a battle worth fighting. It’s a mermaid cupcake, not the end of the world. I’m sorry I was so uptight. I’ll buy you some if you want.

LR- Ew… they are kind of gross.

7. Taking time for myself. I need a break so desperately I could cry. Too much work, too much stress, too much heartache, too much of everything frankly- and I wish I were better at insisting on taking a minute to feel better… even if that means drinking a cup of coffee in silence and going to work a half hour later.

I get a lot done in a day… but it’s always nice to have goals too. ♥

Day 18: Describe 5 strengths you have.

  1. I’m nice. Nice to a point it’s debilitating, but still- it counts. In a world so jaded, angry, dishonest and cruel… I’m that smiling stranger. I’m that lady who offers to hold your crying baby so you can help your other child, that person who pays the difference when you run short and the first to volunteer for shitty jobs that nobody wants to do. I’m nice. I’ve hated this about myself for years and finally in the last couple have learned to embrace what makes me happy. I LIKE being nice. It doesn’t sit well with me when I’m unkind and I’d rather suffer the consequences of people taking advantage of my kindness than live life as an asshole.
  2. I’m stubborn. Bullheaded is an understatement. I redefine what it means to be inflexible when I am determined. I hate this about myself a lot of the time, but truth be told, it saves me regularly. I refuse to give up, wouldn’t quit with a gun to my head and pursue what I want, intently. I don’t take no for an answer, I dig my heels in and pull out all the stops until that no changes to yes. There are downsides but for the most part, I’ve achieved some amazing things simply because I flat out refused not to.
  3. I’m really thoughtful. I like to make the people who are special to me, feel those same feelings in return. I like to mentally catalog the favorite things of my loved ones and surprise them when it’s least expected and needed the most. I love you with my whole soul, no parts left out… even the ugly stuff that most people would turn their nose up at- those things are sometimes my favorite details because it makes me accept my own shortcomings a bit easier. I am inspired by love and the feelings resulting from it, and I go overboard at times in expressing it. I like that about myself. The world is full of sadness, I enjoy doing my part to make it better for the people that do the same for me.
  4. I’m crafty AF. I can knit, sew, bake, grow, can, fix or paint anything I’m inspired to want to do. If I don’t know how, Google leads the way. I have collected hobbies for years and am definitely the mom to call when you’re in need of crafty help. I used crafting as therapy for years in a bad relationship, and learned how to knit some of my favorite treasures in the process. I fell in love with heirloom tomatoes and planted 350 plants…. hence the needing to learn to can. I’m a crafty version of that “If you give a mouse a muffin,” book. One craft leads to another and before you know it, I’m rewiring the garage and installing new tile in the bathroom while my cheesecake bakes. It’s a lot sometimes… and I wish I liked to clean up my messes as much as I like making them.
  5. I’m funny. I can laugh at myself with the best of them and have learned to brush off the tears that fall as easily as laughter when the two collide. When the hot water heater dies, I can laugh about it now- where it used to decimate me. I can joke about my poor taste in men and perennially broken heart, because what good is life if you don’t use it all up? I took my female cat to the vet for an emergency last month and found out that she’s a he. How can life be anything but hilarious after that?

Day 17: Describe 5 weaknesses you have.

  1. Incredicock. Oh why beat around the bush (no pun intended), let’s be bold, brave and honest, shall we? I can honestly say I’ve never felt about another human being the way I feel about him. Fiercely protective while simultaneously terrifyingly guarded, brazen, bold and wanton…oh and petty as the day is long. I’ve never really known heartache like the one he inspires and I wonder sometimes if it’s my penchant for pain that makes me love him so? The jury’s out, but masochism is in the lead. I saw things I can’t unsee regarding him this weekend and I’m decimated as a result. I’ve clearcut the common threads that tie us together and am facing some tough days ahead. What he says and what he does are vastly different and it kills me every time I find out he’s lied to me again. I need to get off this bad ride.
  2. Baked Lays Potato Chips. Dear God in heaven…. hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven… Give us these chips, these daily chips… I can’t even buy a bag because I will eat the whole damn thing with reckless abandon.
  3. Take5 Candy bars. Seriously the best candy bar ever made. Thank you Reese’s for making them a part of your delicious family.
  4. Bombay Sapphire Gin. I had 4 martinis last night as I cried about my bad taste in men and bemoaned the stupidity of my loyal heart. 4!!!. I felt like death warmed over all day today and sat inches away from the cause of it. No martini is worth that and I wish I’d stayed in bed. Thank heavens for Maybelline who painted my grey face a flesh tone and convinced the world that I wasn’t seconds from puking, all day.
  5. Tomato plants. God bless America, at least one of my weaknesses is healthy. I cannot walk away from a “rare” or “lost” heirloom tomato seed. I have grown them all. I know them all as well as my children and doubt you could surprise me with a new favorite… but I’d sure love to hear about yours….

Day 16: What are your five greatest accomplishments?

  1. Motherhood. It’s every bit of who I am and my children are my crown jewels. I’m missing my firstborn and in being absent from my life he has taught me a million more things. Just when you think you know what you’re doing or have cracked the code in how to juggle it all, one of them throws up, moves out, gets in trouble, sings you a song, writes you a love note, pees in your bed, gets good grades, etc…. it’s forever changing. I think I have finally found a healthy balance of love and discipline while slowing down to have more tea parties. I think I’m finally a good mom. Phew.
  2. My career. I was in the right place at the right time to land my job but through my own hard work and perseverance I have landed in the #2 spot and carry a lot of responsibility as a result. I bring a lot of work home with me and the stress of it has given me a few bleeding ulcers. I don’t always want to go, but enjoy it most days and have the flexibility to put my Dumpling first without any hesitation, something that is priceless these days. I love my coworkers, and that hasn’t always been the case so I appreciate it wholeheartedly.
  3. My garden. I’m moving the whole damn thing this year, which is daunting to say the least. I’m also downsizing, because I can’t work full time and keep up with an acre of growing weeds and plants. I just can’t do it, so I’m building a fence around a quarter of the size of my old garden. I was going to skip a year and not plant, but my mental health depends on putting my hands in the dirt and having ripe tomatoes.
  4. My friendships. I never have time to see most of them, but I really am blessed to have the best friends in the whole galaxy. I’ve been painfully depressed for the past year and have distanced myself from 99% of the world in trying to put myself back together. I’ve been avoiding everyone while working to stop the endless flood of tears from ruining every good time. When you can’t pull it together, you find out who your real friends are. The people who reach out, shoot a text or call even though they know I wont answer. I’m incredibly blessed to have more than my share and they’ve gotten me through an awful year that threatened to get the best of me.
  5. My family. I have a good relationship with my mom, a healthy and loving relationship with all of my siblings and there’s nobody I avoid! That sounds ordinary, but trust me it isn’t. I don’t see them as much as I’d like but the fact that we’re all on good terms is nothing short of miraculous and I treasure the family dinners we missed out on for so many years and for such stupid reasons. Aside from a few red-hat wearing distant cousins, our entire family has healed old wounds and come back together. I hope and pray that the same happens with my son some day, and seeing all their faces around the dinner table as we laugh, gives me fresh hope.

Day 15: Where would you like to be in 10 years?

A day in my life, ten years from now:

I snuggle deeper into my bed, willing the sun away as I awake to the warm smell of hot coffee. I open one eye and see my beautiful husband lying beside me. The charming and sleepy mass next to me rolls over and pulls me in close for the morning sex I’ve gotten used to but will never take for granted. He satisfies me, hops out of bed to go get my coffee and make breakfast for the Dumpling.

I wander lazily through the house and into my attached conservatory to drink the coffee my sweetheart poured for for me while I water plants with the same sleepy generosity. Orchids hang over the baby seedlings heralding the arrival of my next vegetable garden. Looking out at the ocean through the glass walls of my greenhouse always makes me think of that small town I left behind and I treasure the waves that remind me I did indeed escape to a bigger and more anonymous pond.

I always wanted to trade my snow shovel for flip flops and the pair on my feet feel more magical than a pair of glass slippers.

I start my shiny convertible and hear my beautiful babe run through the house on her way to jump in for the ten minute scenic drive to school, all blonde hair and big grins on her sweet little face. Sixteen year old girls can be beasts, but mine is sweet and funny enough to get herself out of the trouble her sassy mouth gets her in. She comes by it naturally. Dropping her off at the door, I take the long way home and enjoy the tropical breeze that blows through enough citrus trees to smell slightly sweet.

Work is waiting in the dirt of my garden and I kiss my darling goodbye as I prepare for another blissful day, doing what I love and surrounded by the people who love me best.

My Fancy lives across the street and we celebrate another glorious Monday with a bottle of bubbles shared over laughs and her youngest baby learning to walk. Life has slowed down for both of us in the ways we worked so hard towards making a reality and I love that our happily ever afters happened to unfold next door to each other.

My darling big kids live just down the street and my tiny grandchildren wear a path between our houses because they know their Grandma loves them more than life itself and will cook them anything their hearts desire.

All that hard work really paid off.

(In all seriousness, I need to book a trip to Kauai and start making solid moves towards my ten year plan.)