Baddie

It’s true.

When faced with a choice, I choose the bad one every time. It’s absolutely my fault that my love life is more of a tropical storm than a sunny day.

Financially secure or tattooed and moody? That’s no contest in my book. I pay my own bills, so I could care less about his bank account. I wanna hear about those tattoos…

Suit and tie or dirty with tools in his hands? This one is a HUGE change from the days of old. Smartypants created the worst kind of preference the night he took his tie off, tied it around my neck and led me out the door. I like them capable and dirty these days. I suppose it has something to do with forever learning something new because I have another broken something to fix. Men who iron instead of turn wrenches, just don’t do it for me anymore.

Attentive or unavailable? Sigh. I plead the 5th.

Take me out or cook for me? This is a forever Daddy issue because mine is a chef and I’d much rather be at home when food is involved. Men that can cook are my achilles.

I’m a bit of a hurricane and it takes a bit of a bad ass to keep up with me. I just need to  learn the difference between a badass and a bad man.

I’m tired of the lessons, so I’ve pulled out my knitting needles and ordered an intense workout program. I may as well have a new hat and a nice ass to show for all this shit.

koolhaas.jpg

This pattern doesn’t allow you to waste your time worrying about where he is or who he’s doing. I”ll be counting stitches, bitches… not reasons why I shouldn’t love him. Who wants to knit a dozen with me? I could use a healthy distraction or twelve.


Not so festive.

I used to love Christmas. I was one of those annoying over-bakers and made all my gifts. I started sewing in July and my children always wore matching, homemade flannel pajamas to sleep on Christmas Eve. 

Gingerbread houses, homemade marshmallows in three flavors, chocolate dipped everything while carols played from thanksgiving to Christmas. It was my favorite time of year. Then my son left, and it’s been difficult, since. Holidays change when you’re missing someone you love. Everything does, really… but especially the days that you’re supposed to be filled with joy and love. 

I am pushing through my reluctance and exhaustion to get it done for the Dumpling. She deserves the same holiday magic her siblings had, but some things have had to shift. The jammies and gingerbread house are store bought because I’m not a stay at home mom anymore and have had to let some things go. 

I’m working crazy hours, into the weekends… and haven’t even started shopping yet. I sort of love leaving it until the last minute and I’m enjoying not stressing about it. Ish.

But I’m a slave to that motherfucking Elf on a shelf. I hate it so much that I wish our dog chewed things up because I’d leave Hallie on the floor in a bowl of dog treats. If the damn thing doesn’t move,  it means your child was naughty and devastation ensues. (Whoever thought this up really hated their parents) I have moved the damn thing on the fly so many times, it’s a miracle I haven’t been caught. Also, to hell with all of you who make your elf do spectacular shit. Chill out. You’re making my lazy, relocating elf, look bad.

I have high hopes for the baking today. I bought all the stuff. I got out the aprons. The kitchen is clean. The Dumpling has a Christmas playlist picked out and it’s going to be a magical day of doing the stuff that makes Christmas feel a little more recognizable to me. I’m trying to find the happy, and that’s the best you can do when you’re just not. 

My gift to you: our family sugar cookie recipe. They are the very best. ♥

Grandma Afton’s Sour Cream Sugar Cookies 

425*  for 8-10 minutes or until lightly brown.

  • 1/4 c Shortening
  • 1/4 c Butter
  • 1 c Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 2/3 c Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/2 c Sour Cream

Preheat oven to 425*. Mix shortening, butter, sugar, egg and vanilla thoroughly. Sift flour and blend dry ingredients into a separate bowl. Add to sugar mixture alternately with sour cream until combined. Divide dough, roll out to 1/4″ thick on well floured surface and cut with cookie cutters. Place on greased baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar. (Omit sprinkling with sugar if you intend to frost them)

Bake 8-10 minutes or until the edges lightly brown. These are MUCH better under than over cooked.


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


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.


Sweet 16,000

I realized this morning that my blog has been viewed over 16,000 times. I have a few different reactions to that…

Panicked… since you’ve read along with me accepting my PHD, learning that I should avoid my favorite beverage, actually I’ve learned the Goose lesson a few times in the last few year. Here… and yet again. I told you,  I never learn the easy way. Isn’t the hard way more fun anyway?

Bitchy… though I’ve quit whining so much since I shook the dirty hippie.

Proud… of my son and daughter, and of myself, because it’s been a long year.

Relieved… because you’ve been there for me through the worst relationship of my life. Trying to love himtrying to leave himlearning how to stand up for myself… and finally, outing him as the shitbag he really is. Most of all I’m relieved it’s over.

Humble…You’ve had unlimited patience for my heathen ass lately… my learning to love being single… and a little slutty. You haven’t even thrown rocks at me when I’ve realized how blind I’ve been. Even when I whine about it.

Flexible… I’ve been brown and blonde… I like blonde better.

Embarrassed… because you’ve seen me through the nightmare that is Internet Dating, and there are so many bad dates to recount it’s funny.

Shy… because I’ve admitted to liking some scandalous shit in the last few months…such as a filthy mouth.

Sexy…I don’t get a lot of shit for it (and know some of you would LOVE to chew my ass out a little about him…I have to stop and thank those of you who fall in that category, for not giving me too hard a time about my Shark… consider the sweet satisfaction in rubbing my ex’s nose in my happiness… the leg-shaking earth rocking fun I have with him…and the delicious sexpot he’s turned me into. Scorching hot pornographic dreams certainly don’t hurt.

Domestic… because I garden, cook, can & bake the pants off most people.

Crafty… you’ve seen me through too many Halloween costumes to count… not to mention my ridiculous knitting addiction and Duct tape roses. White trash prom was enough crafty fun to last me a while 🙂

I’m learning, slowly… but I’m trying.

Thanks for hanging in there with me.

🙂