Wednesday, March 28, 2012

conversations with Katie

Katie is my sister/former housemate/bestest friend/personal shopper/middle-of-the-night call-her/OMG-you're-never-going-to-believe this-her.

Some of our recent text conversations have been indicative of the range in our friendship and I thought I'd share.

ME: How's your day?
HER: Good. I'm at the zoo with Will, Mike, Rose and the kids.
ME: Oh fun!!! That sounds great. It's a beautiful day!
HER: It is!! It's a mad house, tho. Semi stressful.
ME: Oh, I bet. :(
HER: And I just got shit on by a bird.
ME: HAHA!!!!
ME: Sorry.

I sent her a picture of my garden area.

HER: Yay!! That looks great!
ME: Thanks! It's all stuff I either had or found and then put my thinking cap on and put it all together. I had to haul the dirt from a field up a long ass hill.
HER: How funny!! I bet it was good farm soil tho!!
ME: I hope so. It felt like a Biggest Loser-style work out.
HER: Oh man!!
ME: I did 2 push-ups today and thought I would die.
ME: Two.
ME: Not 22. Two.
HER: It's a start!!
HER: Better than 1. Or none.
ME: Ha. Good point, coach.
HER: :) I do what I can.
ME: I mean, you're no Bob, but I'll take what I can get.

ME: I'm worried about my plants b/c Blue won't stay out of the dirt. I swear, if he destroys my plants, he's goin' down.
HER: Ohh no, isn't that back area fenced?
ME: No. And it's out of the sun. My plan is to maybe find a table or something to set them on. But still...
HER: That'd be so sad.
ME: Um, yes. Literally, I would probably cry.
HER: Umm I would too. I would cry for you.
ME: You know I'm going to go ape shit when these things start producing, right?
HER: Umm ya. I guessed that.

ME: Is it OK if Skye spends the weekend w/ you while I'm in Dallas?
HER: Getting the same text as the sis sitting next to me isn't cool FYI.
ME: Haha! I dig mass texts.
HER: I don't.
ME: Oh god. I'll have to bring my plants too. F**k.
HER: Haha. Her auntie Kate will love to have her.
ME: Much appreciated!
ME: Do you want me to bring her crate?
ME: Never mind, I just will. It'll be an easy place to put her when you've had enough of her.
ME: And lord knows, you WILL have enough of her.

ME: EXCLUSIVE TEXT MSG TO YOU: maybe there will be a hot editor at the conference this weekend.
HER: Thx for the exclusive text. That'd be totally awesome!! You should be looking and available.
ME: I will be a hungry cougar.
HER: That's a little aggressive.
ME: Don't underestimate me.
HER: Hahaha never.

I sent her a picture of Skye.

ME: She's looking forward to being with her auntie Katie! I sent this to four other people, by the way.
HER: I appreciate you being honest about the mass texts and Skye won't be spoiled at auntie Kate's house. She'll have to mind her manners for special treatment.
ME: She will melt your heart of stone with her liquid brown eyes and long tongue. Mark my words.
ME: Also, she didn't tear up carpet today. Basically, she's perfect.
HER: yay Skye. She minded her manner. Not manners, manner. one.
ME: Oh, there's more. She didn't run away and came every time she was told.
HER: Wow. I'm blown away!!
ME: I know. What can I say?
ME: OK. I have to go to bed. I'm getting up @ 7 to exercise for Day #2. Gotta lose 10by May 19. Gotta not die while doing push-ups.
ME: Gotta do a lot of shit tomorrow.
HER: You're a bad ass!!!
ME: Oh yeah, my 2/10 of a mile run. I'm a beast.
HER: Hey it counts!!!
ME: It will eventually when 2/10 becomes like 210. OK, possible exaggeration. But you get the picture. And yes, for the record, I'm running in circles around my neighbor's house.
HER: Classic!!! Better than the highway!!
ME: Heck yes. OK. Good night. Love you.
HER: Night. Love you too.

Friday, March 23, 2012

some sentences strung together

I worked 60 hours this week, and have wondered why I'm so doggone tired at night. It makes sense now, doesn't it? There's nothing more comforting than driving up the driveway in a car that spent the day in the shop being repaired and having the dog-who-thinks-he's-mine running alongside In fact, there's nothing more comforting than just being home.

My car really did spend the day in the shop getting a problem fixed that I was told about five months ago. Apparently wheel bearings are important and mine needed to be October. Well, you know, they got replaced today. I hated spending my meager tax refund on such a boring project, but I was very thankful. Very, very thankful. And, since it was my wheel bearings that were fixed and for the past five months I've smelled an *ahem* burning smell every time I exit the vehicle, I got my sniffer right next to my tire tonight to see if I could smell it. It smelled hot and I wondered if that's what a tire usually smells like after it's been driven. I don't know. I've never smelled my tires before.

Not only does my mechanic make a prioritized to-do list for me - he REMEMBERS it! *sigh*

I love the drive home from a long day's work. I love seeing the Cottage waiting for me, I love the dog who's here to greet me. I love my plants who wait to be watered, and my bed. I love that I don't have to work this weekend. Well, technically, work.

This week was productive and I like that feeling. It mixed all the elements of why I love my job - unpredictable, organization, planning, delivering. (I'm aware the tense agreement is a little funky on those descriptors).

I just killed an insanely huge moth on my bed with a pile of paper. Yes, I have a small pile of 81/2x11 sheets of paper on my bed. They have words on them.

It's time for me to divorce myself from a computer.
Good night, digital world.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

grace like rain

Sometimes I let ungrace get the best of me.

Like this morning when breaking news was all around and adrenaline was flowing.

And tonight when I can't figure out how to transfer money from a debit card to my PayPal account.

Or Monday night when my "check engine" light came on, and still hasn't magically gone away.

Or today when my computer was running so slow and inhibiting my work.

Or last week when things kept falling through and I was scrambling at the very last minute for a front-page solution.

Deep breaths, and a determination to find it. Grace.

Grace for myself, grace for my heart rate and blood pressure, grace for the people around me.

It's part of being the leader I want to be, and sometimes that means excusing myself to the bathroom (because that's one of the few places people can't find me) and breathing deeply. And reminding myself that I don't want to be that person who brings everyone around me down, and who emits negative energy.

Even in my less-than-glorious moments, I want to exhibit grace, but first I have to find it, which is why I was in the bathroom. And it was there. Grace. Grace like rain.

And when I emerged, I think I did so with ease or, well, grace.

Monday, March 19, 2012

a tenth

My circle driveway is a tenth of a mile long...or, around. I'm walking it. Well, not right now, but earlier this morning, and tomorrow morning and the next morning.

It's my new treadmill.

I'm full of excuses when it comes to exercise.

I don't have a gym membership.
The highway's too busy to walk along.
Skye doesn't have the right collar to go on walks with me.
I'd rather sleep than get up.
I don't want people to look at me.
Do I walk into the traffic or away?

On and on they go.

But then, this weekend, I discovered the circle driveway. Well, technically, I didn't just find it, but I started walking it with my niece. And then I wondered how far it was, I measured it, and now here we are.

I'm walking in circles.


It's easy to identify the things you don't have. But what if what you have is enough for today?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

plants and tables

It's been awhile since my little brother and I built my dining room table from some old window panes and wood found in a burn pile.

But the table is finally home in the Cottage, and doesn't she look good?

And nearly all my plants have sprouted on the window sill, which makes me a proud plant-mama.

Friday, March 16, 2012

some words strung together

Wind and rain is slapping against the front of the Cottage and incidentally the windows my desk sits in front of. There's something comforting about a Texas thunderstorm.

My 80-pound German shepherd doesn't agree with me. She's currently in her hiding spot next to the toilet in the bathroom. And to think she's my personal protection dog! I guess we all have our fears.

My niece is asleep in the bedroom next to me. I checked on her a moment ago and found her asleep on the carpet. Apparently she rolled.

I hired a babysitter the past two days for the first time in my life. It's not surprising given that I'm not a mother, but traditionally I've been the one on the babysitter/nanny end. The moment of departure was awkward. What's a good thing to say when you leave a babysitter with your precious child/niece? I'd already given her the run down (twice, I'm sure, in my semi-frazzled state), I'd kissed Evalyn, told her goodbye and then....

Thirty minutes later I wanted to check and see if everything was going OK, but I managed to hold off for 50 minutes. I was glad to hear they were getting along splendidly and watching Mary Poppins.

You can't really make scrambled eggs in a Crock pot.

I found a flea on Skye two days ago and went ape shit on the Cottage. I lose my mind over fleas. Hopefully I've taken care of these suckers.

I really like March Madness and think college football should be structured in the same way. I especially like this year's tournament because my Murray State Racers are in it to win it.

My brother is a sailor!!

The past two days at work were especially stressful. It's always stressful, but this was compounded. We made it, though.

Speaking of work, I have to go back there tomorrow. I might need to go to bed now.

he's a sailor!

On the spectrum of pride, mine is off the charts.

It's hard to believe we said goodbye two months ago and now here we are - graduation day!

As every big sister should, I cried when I watched the graduation videos this morning that one of my sisters was sending to my cell phone. And then, two hours later, I got a text message:

"Hey! It's Daniel!!"

And I screamed via text and replied:
"I wish I was there to touch your face!"

I've missed that kid a lot and can't wait to see where his journey takes him.

Eeeeeeeeekkkkkkk....I'm so happy for him!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

mommy for 3.5 days

It hasn't even been 24 hours and I've got little outfits hanging from the shower curtain rod, drying from their impromptu wash in the bathroom sink this morning.

I've comforted a fussy girl who didn't want to go to sleep for the first hour of bedtime, and then worried all night about her getting too cold.

I've already had one episode of flipping on nearly every light in the bedroom when I couldn't see her chest rising and falling before I went to bed.

The first nearly sleepless night is under my belt. I was worrying about if she was too hot or too cold, and then at 4 a.m. she decided it was time to wake up, but it wasn't.

This morning I tugged her into bed with me from her little pallet besides my bed and we snuggled for a few minutes. Later, she had a coughing fit and threw up. I almost did too.

The babysitter came and I told her goodbye, but I didn't really want to leave her. Thirty minutes later I wanted to check and see how she was doing. I held off for an hour and then was glad to hear that she was laughing and smiling and watching Mary Poppins.

And it hasn't even been 24 hours yet.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

plant eating

I stopped eating meat 14 days ago. Intentionally.

In my brother's words, I am officially a hippy, after he's added all the evidence together (my plant growing and station wagon driving) and to summarize, he's concerned.

But it's true, and it's not something I decided to do overnight and I have no preconceived notions of how long it's going to last. It's something I've thought about for awhile and when March 1 rolled around and I needed groceries, I decided: why not do it now? This was also the time the "pink slime" went viral on Facebook, which hurt the appetizing factor of processed meat, which leads me to the reason behind my decision.


I'm not comfortable with the way meat is processed and I want to give my body every fighting chance to survive.

For me, it's been an easy transition. My diet to begin with was simple and I was already in the habit of preparing my meals in advance, so eliminating meat hasn't been a hassle. And, I don't miss it. I stock up (even more) on leafy greens and fresh fruit, and have enjoyed making new recipes sans meat.

It's a good choice for me right now. Maybe later I'll change, but for now, it fits and my body seems to like it.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

my view from here

I have babies!

OK. They're not the keep-you-up-at-night-and-need-a-college-fund type of babies, but they're little and they're sprouting. So in that way they're my babies. Oh, and in the way that I water them and in the way that I carry them from their window sill on one end of the house to the window sill on the other end to optimize their daily intake of sunlight.

Grow, baby, grow.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

my mornings

I'm sitting at my desk, wrapped up in a towel from the shower I just took, behind two windows that span the lenght of my nook in the Cottage. A cup of the coffee I just French pressed is perched next to my right hand, steaming in a cup that my best friend gave me many years ago. It's a morning reminder for me. It says:

Be: be generous, be hopeful be confident, be forgiving, be joyful, be creative, be peaceful, be spunky, be adventerous, be honest, be fearless, be glad, and be delightfully you.

I realize on this morning that it's the first time I've actually read the whole cup. It's beautiful.

Next to my coffee is my bowl of warm oatmeal - instant, sugar-free. But don't let the sugar absence make you think I'm a super health nut. I ate almost a whole box of crackers last night.

I'm looking out the window at my beautiful German shepherd. She's sitting, her interest directed at a bird that flew in a tree. Sometimes, when I look at her and she's at attention, and then her watching eyes meander through the window where she knows I'm sitting, my heart gets choked up that she's actually mine. Laying down in front of her and gazing at her is Blue. He wants to play.

When they disappear from my sight, I call, "Skye!" and then she comes running from behind my car and through the open door of the Cottage to my side.

On my window sill in the dining room is a neat row of seed starter plants. Next to them is the newest project, which I finished this morning. An empty liter bottle tipped on its side with a hole cut in it and foliage planted inside. I have a stack of herb seeds on my counter to be planted in other liter bottles. I knew I was saving them for a reason.

On the counter is my Crock pot and the new batch of vegetarian chili I put together this morning. Further down the counter is my packed lunch in my little green lunch bag. From my laptop comes the sounds of my morning radio show.

Near my right elbow is my phone, buzzing with text messages from my sister letting me know that my nephew-dog isn't constipated anymore, and more texts from a friend. Emails are dinging through, clamoring for my attention. I scroll through them scanning for homicides, fatal accidents, emergencies that require my attention right now. The others I save for later.

I pluck my eyebrows, because they're a little out of control. I apply my standard amount of make-up - eyeliner. I check the clock - it's about time to start getting dressed and arrive in the newsroom.

But first I'll grab my bags, my notebooks, the newspapers I'm taking with me, I'll step outside into this beautiful day with the green grass under my feet and a paid-for car in the driveway, and I'll sigh and say something aloud along the lines of: "Thank you."

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Picking out cupcakes is daunting, I tell you. After the fourth time of eyeing my selection, handling a couple packages, checking for nutritional information and debating chocolate or vanilla for 10 minutes, I told myself, "You look crazy doing this right now. Make a decision."

It's the simple decisions that are the hardest for me, and this is always manifested in the grocery store.

I learned how to walk every aisle from my friend and my mother taught me to consider pricing. I've taught myself to read nutrition labels. Combined, all three factors have a part to play in the length of time I can spend in the grocery section.

Well, all those things plus the fact that by the time I'm grocery shopping, I'm decompressing. There's a certain level of relaxation that comes from browsing, shopping off my list, planning meals in my head, selecting items off the shelf, shopping on a budget, bringing it all home and unpacking it.

And to all who are watching...I'm not crazy. I'm just shopping. And taking my time.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

I could go for a kid right now

I’m in one of my I-want-a-baby phases, which means two things:

1) I’m likely to acquire a dog
2) I will plant things

In the tangible here-and-now, I’ve planted a shit-ton of tomatoes. I’ve also perused dozens of online puppy ads, sent numerous emails and scheduled a visit to a woman’s house to see puppies tomorrow morning.

Essentially, I need to nurture something.

It’s not an urge unknown to me. In the past, I’ve mentioned sneaking cute babies out of shopping carts or embracing life as a single mom via adoption. Two nights ago while I was lying awake, unable to sleep, this thought actually crossed my mind: “You could totally handle a newborn.

Hmm. Interesting.

But, realistically, I can’t be a mom right now. It’s just not the right time, if you know what I mean.

So between the time (now) that I want a baby and the time (later) that I actually get one, I’ll sprinkle flower seeds in my front yard and planter, and plant more tomato plants than I’ll know what to do with come April.

There’s also a slight possibility I’ll end up with another dog in the near future.

we could have died there

I like flea markets, I like acreage. So when a billboard boasted of 16 acres of bargains in a flea market setting, I opted to exit the interstate with a friend and browse.

In all honesty, we could very easily have died that day.

Some warning signs:

1) we were the only patrons there
2) prison-style chain link fence surrounded the premises
3) every shed was broken
4) we were no longer in America. We were in a third-world country

Admittedly, I wanted to leave.

"Uh, let's just go. I don't want bargains this bad."

But my flea-market counterpart wanted to press on, so we did.

And we lived.