Monday, October 22, 2018

Worth the Wait

In light of all my bitching about the crappy weather earlier this month, it behooves me to now rave about the perfect fall weather that we had over the weekend. Like, that's the Law of Nature, right? Bitch about something long enough and you have to spend equal time praising any improvement.

So, what a gorgeous weekend we had!

Not only did Hugh and I manage to nail down the final touches on our Halloween lawn display (pictures coming soon, I promise), but I got to spend two days in Kortni's company, hunting for antique bargains without freezing our asses off or blowing away in gusty winds.

Best of all, however, was the day that I spent with Queen B, visiting another local winery/orchard/pumpkin patch, taking pictures to use on her upcoming graduation announcements. Yes! Her college graduation announcements! How is that even possible, since, just yesterday I was dropping her off in her first dorm room?

Anyway...her pictures turned out great and we got to enjoy the sunshine, beautiful scenery, and a little shopping in the small store located at the winery (locally made balsamic vinegar and lemon basil pasta for the win!).

Later in the afternoon, we returned home, where we watched a series of really bad horror movies on Netflix, spent a couple of hours visiting with Jana, who had been in the neighborhood following an event at which she was serving snow cones from The Ice Box, dining on paninis made with our favorite Irish cheese, ham, tomatoes, and mustard (so, so good!), and clearing our pores with those peel-off charcoal masks that are all the rage right now.

It was a very nice way to spend a Sunday.

Plus, Queen B spent the night, so, I got to have one of my kiddos back under my roof, which, is always a bonus.

Today, I'm back to the grind, with a half-day leadership retreat at Day Job,  followed by a video conference call and God knows how many client crisis calls. Thank goodness for the weekend recharge; I'm going to need every bit of extra energy to get me through the week.

And, yes, Mother Nature, the weekend was totally worth the wait.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Another Great Pick at The Pea!

Kortni , her cousin Jorie, and I hit The Pea at precisely 9:00 a.m. yesterday, which is when the sale officially opens to the public, so, you can imagine our surprise-and disappointment-to see that other "pickers" had already been allowed to make purchases; if this is a new policy at The Pea, we will have to up our morning game in the spring. Hey, I get up at 5:00 every weekday; I have no problem with sitting in my car for a few hours while we stalk the sale. I mean, if that's the kind of competition they're hoping to incite.

Anyhoodle, despite our "late" start, I managed to score a number of items that fit my agenda for the day; that agenda being a) NO NEW PROJECTS, b) Within a modest budget, and c) Unique and not readily available elsewhere. But, I'll get to that later.

For now, I want to talk about how much I love the awesome, crazy, and, sometimes weird stuff that we encounter at The Pea each time we attend the sale. One of my favorite things is the food, not that I eat it, just that it's an experience simply to watch it being prepared; for example, the kettle corn...

...I love the smell of the syrup as it mingles with the hot, freshly popped corn kernels; nothing does salty-sweet like kettle corn.

I also love watching the Mennonites prepare a cup of drip coffee; their patience in preparing each cup, along with the joyful manner in which they present it to the customer always makes me smile. Our Mennonite community includes some of the nicest people I have ever met, and, prior to swearing off sugar, I absolutely would have been first in line for one of the donuts that they were selling alongside the coffee.

People watching at The Pea is almost as interesting as scoping out the antiques, and this year certainly didn't disappoint, but the antiques are where it's at; this year, I saw a lot of items that reminded me of the time that my sisters and I spent at my grandparent's house when we were children. It brought back some really happy memories.

My sisters and I used to give each other rides in a wheelbarrow similar to this one. It was always a competition to see who could launch who out of the bucket by running really fast and then stopping abruptly. Good times.

Of course, there were a lot of unexpected sights as well, including the creative use of skeletons sprinkled throughout the venue (and, we all know I love a good skeleton); this was my favorite...

And, there were the usual cool vintage finds sprinkled in among the tongue-in-cheek displays for which The Pea is becoming famous (in Petticoat Junction, which, isn't saying much, but, that's how we roll in small town America).

As for the finds that I mentioned at the beginning of the post, they include a child's antique school chair, which, if my research is correct, dates back to somewhere in the late 30's. I had never seen a child's chair quite like it, it only required a light cleaning, and, the price was right, so it met all three of my requirements for the day. I snapped it up, immediately (you have to jump on stuff as soon as you spot it, otherwise you run the risk of it being snatched right out from underneath you).

I'm currently using it in the dining room, to display one of the Jack-o-Lanterns that Hugh has carved for the kids over the years.

I also picked up a re-purposed baby doll carriage that is now a unique display piece for my front porch (also meeting my three purchasing requirements, like, damn! I'm doing great!).

It's currently full of fall-related goodies, but, come Christmastime, it will be holding a tartan plaid blanket and a small evergreen tree, me thinks.

I also picked up this super-cute vintage soda-pop carrier. I'm displaying it next to the coke crate that my aunt gave me, and, you can bet that I'll be on the lookout for some vintage bottles to put in it. That's the beauty of sales like Pickin' at the Pea; you get ideas and items that drive your quest at the next sale.

Hugh will be so happy to read that last line.

Hey, on the bright side, I didn't bring home any new projects for him to assist in!

Mission totally accomplished.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Sweet Tea Cottage

Yesterday, Kortni and I made the looong journey to my friend Pam's barn sale, and, I mean that figuratively rather than literally because Pam's "barn" is located literally a stone's throw from my house, but, since she only hosts a sale once or twice a year, it always seems like it takes forevvvvver to get to it.

It's always completely worth the wait, though.

 I am now on the hunt for old street signs with my maiden and married names for my own yard

I didn't buy anything this year; I already have three unfinished projects cluttering up the garage and I can't fathom adding to that chaos, but, I left the sale with tons of ideas for re-purposing items already in my house as well as a new determination to finish what I've already started. Pam is an inspiration to me and I never fail to leave her place with renewed intentions.

Today, Kortni and I are headed to our other favorite sale-Pickin' at the Pea; I never leave there without a million new ideas, either. I guess we'll see if I also manage to leave with an undamaged pocketbook.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

When You Know You Raised Them Right

Yesterday, Queen B and Katie went to the pumpkin patch. No big deal, right? I mean, it's October, that's what kids do in October, right? Sure. But my "kids" are twenty-two years old. Still, they went to the patch, posed for selfies, picked the perfect pumpkins, and then, went home to carve jack-o-lanterns with Mikey, who, it should be noted, just turned twenty-one earlier this month.

This is how I know that all those years of dragging them to the pumpkin patch and corn maze and Stampede, and every other annual thing that we did, has made an impact on their adult selves. This is how I know that all of those traditions that Hugh and I worked so hard to instill in them actually "took".

This is how I know that they will be alright, and that makes my mama heart happier than you can imagine.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Well, Look Who Finally Decided to Show Up

Helloooo, Gorgeous Fall Weather! Where you been keeping yourself? We've missed you!

The past two days have been sunny, crisp, and, dare I say,  pleasant. We've finally dried out and I have been able to get my Halloween display underway (pictures coming soon). I also managed to get in a quick photo shoot for a senior at Hooterville High, and I got everything out of the garden that needed to be harvested.

I'm feeling slightly less irritated with Mother Nature, for sure.

Hopefully, the weather will hold throughout the weekend, because I have plans with friends to attend the annual Fall Pickin' at the Pea antique sale on Saturday morning, as well as a Friday afternoon VIP sneak peek at my neighbor Pam's barn sale. These types of things are always so much more pleasant in nice weather.

For now, I'll just be grateful for what I've got. Again, thanks for showing up, Gorgeous!

Monday, October 15, 2018

And, Sometimes Life Stinks...Literally

Petticoat Junction got its first freeze overnight Saturday, which, meant that it was time to harvest my Brussels sprouts. As you may recall, I bitched quite freely about the aphid infestation that descended upon my garden this year, and, as you may also recall, I wasn't sure how that would affect my harvest. I'm quite pleased to inform you that it didn't completely decimate my haul; oh, it reduced it, for sure, but, I got away with more than enough sprouts to last us for awhile (although, Hugh would argue that there can never be enough Brussels sprouts).

I froze the sprouts, suing the same method that I did two years ago, which means that my house now reeks of Brussels sprouts-scented douche. Massengill should totally hit me up for the formula; it's certain to be a best seller.

I have tried to mask the scent by burning my Halloween candle, spraying air freshener freely throughout the house, and simmering cinnamon sticks on the stove top, but, still; the scent lingers. I am thisclose to smudging the house with sage, as one would in order to vanquish an evil spirit.

This is usually the portion of the program wherein I say something along the lines of, "But, on the bright side...", however, this time? Yeah, I got nothing.

Some days, you just gotta live with the stink.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Perfection is a Myth and Life is Hard

I enjoy reading other people's blogs like I enjoy reading a good work of fiction; often, the two are pretty much the exact same thing.

Blogging used to be a fairly accurate and honest depiction of life; you got a decent picture of the trials and tribulations of raising a family, or striking out on your own as a young adult, or gracelessly aging into an empty nester. Now and days, bloggers are often more focused on selling a fluffed up picture of perfection; often creating a sales pitch that rivals even the most aggressive late-night infomercial.

It's sad, y'all, because, life is not perfect.

Life is messy and heartbreaking and awful and wonderful, often at the same time. People hit roadblocks, mentally, financially, physically, and emotionally, and, it's OK to admit when you're struggling. It's better than OK to talk about what helped you push past the bad stuff, too (it's also ok to link to a resource that might help someone else who is struggling, but, when you profit from that link, you're kind of being an asshole. Just sayin').

Everyone needs help at some point in their lives, everyone. I don't care how happy, healthy, well-off, or stable you are; somewhere down the line, you will need an assist. That's just life.

Recently, I have watched three-out-of-four of my adult children (I absolutely consider the children-of-my-heart to be mine; biology be damned) struggle with shit that life felt the need to throw at them; ugly, raw, painful, terrible things. None of them felt they could reach out for help until they were in absolute crisis, and, thankfully, when they did, we were able to provide the support they needed, but, I had to ask myself; why did it take hitting such a wall before they reached out? I blame a lot on the bullshit myth of perfection that their current involvement with social media presents, and, I had to ask myself if I was somehow contributing to that myth.

This blog, my little space on the interweb, is meant to be a place where I can preserve an honest account of our life. A space to preserve the daily moments that make up our lifetime together. It's not meant to present a picture of perfection that others will strive to emulate, nor will it ever be an airbrushed, sanitized, saccharine-sweet, commercial for (insert hot product of the day, here). If you read here, my only hope is that, when you are finished, you think "Hey, me too!" rather than "God, I wish", or "If only..." or "Must be nice..." because, life? Is not the BEST! all the time. It's not going to be made better if you just "follow this link...", or, "buy this product..." and, here's the best kept secret, the one that social media doesn't want you to know; it doesn't have to be.

Sometimes, the absolute BEST part of life is coming out on the other side...the other side of grief, the other side of crisis, the other side of chaos, pain, and loss. And, the greatest gift you can give yourself- and others- is honesty about what's going on prior to seeing "the other side".

If you're currently in a space somewhere in the middle right now, please know that you aren't alone and that it will get better. Life isn't made to be perfect, but you are perfectly made.

And that's the only perfection that truly matters.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Oh, October, Why You Gotta Be Like That?


You are usually one of my favorite months of the year, like, we're talking top three, here. This year?'re testing my patience, October. Really testing my patience.

For one thing, the constant rain...what the hell is up with that? Last time I checked, August was monsoon season here in Petticoat Junction, not October.

I'm tired of steely gray skies, mud puddles, chilly drizzle, and damp umbrellas littering my car and office. And, on the topic of littering, my porch is the current dump site of all of the skeletons that need to be set up on the lawn for Halloween...

 Care to guess what the skeleton theme is for this year? Go ahead, guess.'s not the look I am striving for, and, the actual build that Hugh worked so hard on is slowly sinking into the moist, squishy ground (also, I hate the word moist; thank you  ever so much for forcing me to use it so much lately, October)...

I want to finish decorating for Halloween, October! Remember Halloween? It's your holiday; please do try showing up for it.

On the bright side, the craptastic weather makes for cozy evenings by the fire...

It also lends itself nicely to the burning of my favorite Halloween-scented candle, so, there's that at least.

Still, I'm ready for some typical October weather. I want to walk outside again. I want to enjoy my usual fall activities without having to layer a freaking parka over my adorable plaids and thermals.

Come on, October! Work with me here!