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?

October....sigh.

You are usually one of my favorite months of the year, like, we're talking top three, here. This year? Yeah...you'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.

...it'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!

Monday, October 08, 2018

Care Packages: The Halloween Edition

I sent the most recent care package to the Man-Cub on Friday, having completely forgotten that today would be Columbus Day, which would tack an extra day on to its delivery. Good thing I didn't guarantee delivery today; mama likes to keep her word.

Anyhoodle, since the Cub is living off campus this year, I included some inexpensive decorations in the package, to help him and his roommates get into the Halloween spirit. I also included some food,  because, starvation is currently the scariest thing facing the kids.

Naturally, the mental picture of starving college students brought to mind the image of zombies, which, are totally Halloween appropriate, so...

....a zombie themed Halloween box was born.

In the box:

Paper Bats

Halloween Door Cover

Zombie Crossing Sign

Bloody Keep Out Window Clings

Zombie Survival Guide

Zombie Blaster

Monster Mash Coffee Mug

Deadpool Lounging Pants

Pumpkin Carving Tools

LED Pumpkin Light

Edible Eyeballs and Boogers

Poppable Zits (Disgusting! The Cub's gonna love them!)










Not pictured:

Two boxes of Hamburger Helper

One box of Little Debbie Star Crunch Treats

One box of Little Debbie Brownies

One package of trail mix

Three All-fruit Snack Bars




Barring any other random federal holidays, the Cub should receive it tomorrow, assuming the USPS doesn't hold up delivery due to the suspicious nature of the packaging, which, included bloody handprints.

Hey, what do they expect? It's almost Halloween!

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Recently, In Proof of Life

The Man-Cub continues to do well in Hawaii. He's enjoying the perks of living off campus, but has discovered that groceries are, get this, expensive. Did you ever? Who would have though?

When he isn't stressing over the high cost associated with preventing starvation, he's stressing over his course load, the difficulty of which has increased this semester. He's handling it just fine, but that hasn't stopped him from whining about it...


Obviously, I said no.


Again, that would be a no.


He is nothing if not persistent.


But, eventually, he does see reason.

When he isn't stressing, or whining, or making sure that his cupboards are stocked, he's tooling around on the island on his new ride...



...I keep telling myself that he doesn't leave home without his helmet. I mean, he doesn't, right?

The appropriate answer here is, "Of course not, Chelle; he knows better than that".

Damn skippy.

A few days ago, I told him that I would be mailing another package this week and he immediately asked if it was "his Halloween box", to which I replied, "What do you think?".

For the record, this is what he thinks...


Damn skippy.

One Halloween themed box headed his way. You know, just as long as daily Proof of Life continues to come my way.

Saturday, October 06, 2018

Entering the Garden Home Stretch

I'll be putting my garden to bed in just a couple of weeks; I'm just waiting for the first light frost to harvest the Brussels sprouts and butternut squashes.




Yesterday, I pulled up the tomatillo, which, was an experiment this year, one that was an epic failure. In fact, the note I would make in my garden journal (if I kept such a thing) is Tomatillo: NEVER AGAIN. It just wasn't worth the space it took up in the garden.

I also pulled up the cucumber, which was not a great producer this year (totally my fault, I purchased the wrong variety from the nursery and didn't realize it until it was too late), and I harvested what I am hoping is the last of the yellow zucchini.

I still have a Roma tomato plant that is producing, but I have no doubt that I will be pulling it by the end of next week, along with the pepper plants (from which I harvested a gallon of jalapenos, yesterday).

The most exciting thing to happen yesterday, however, was the discovery of actual sweet potatoes underneath all of that vine, and, by all of that vine, I mean ALL OF THAT VINE. It stretched everywhere, climbing the trellises that we set up for it, the sunflower stalks standing next to it, the antique wheelbarrow parked a ways away from it, and the fence surrounding the garden.The vine was prolific, y'all. So, thank goodness there were tubers to show for all the real estate the vine took up.




I'm in the process of curing the potatoes, which is supposed to take about ten days, and then I am looking forward to enjoying them roasted, with olive oil, coarse salt, and cracked pepper. My mouth watered just typing that.

This year's garden was an exercise in frustration at many points (bugs! So many bugs this year!), and, I didn't really get the usual therapeutic vibe that I have historically gotten from my gardening. Instead, I felt somewhat burdened by its' care; I felt like I had to rush home from work to tend to it, which, meant that I had to shuffle my evening walk/run to accommodate it. Combine that with the responsibility of having a dog again and, my summer evenings felt less relaxed than they did last year. I didn't like it.

So, I'm contemplating a year on/year off schedule with the garden. Of course, that may change completely next spring, when the seed catalogues hit my post office box; I am nothing if not flexible.

Or, flighty.

You know, dealer's choice.

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Bless the Breasts and the Vague Posters

I hate when bloggers write a post alluding to something happening in their lives without sharing details.

You know, like I did yesterday.

I hate it worse when they fail to follow up with an explanatory post, but, instead, continue to vague-post about whatever the hell it is with no intention of ever sharing details or clearing up confusion. I mean; why would we care about a nebulous incident in your life if you aren't even willing to share?

Which, is why I am going to share what's been going on in these here parts.

I already mentioned that "it" had to do with some medical issues concerning Queen B. Scary medical issues. Like, the "C-Word", scary. Which, I can talk about now, because a) I have Queen B's permission to do so, b) the biopsy that Queen B had on Tuesday came back negative (Amen!), and,  c) October is breast cancer awareness month so, I can consider this a public service announcement and feel good about it.

So, here are the deets:

In July, Queen B noticed what she thought was a rash on the side of her breast. Several rounds of prescription cream had no affect on it, so, she went to the doctor to have it looked at on Monday. The practice that we use (because our insurance prefers that we do) is a great practice, but, it's a revolving door, and, neither Queen B nor I have ever seen the same doctor twice; the doctor who happened to be available for her appointment suggested that Queen B try another steroid cream for two weeks, and, if she didn't see improvement, she needed to come in for a biopsy since the rash could be a sign of inflammatory breast cancer. Or, she could just do the biopsy right then. Like RIGHT then.

Queen B was a titch freaked, so, she opted for the cream, took her prescription and left.

Then, she called me in a panic because she was scared that she had made the wrong decision. We talked for a bit, and, given the history of breast cancer on both sides of the family, I suggested that she call the doctor back and ask for a biopsy rather than potentially wasting two weeks on a cream that might do nothing.

Of course, the doctor she had just seen was booked solid for two weeks, so, she took the first available appointment, with a different doctor, the following day, and, I made arrangements to take off work so I could be with her.

The new doctor was not enthusiastic about doing the biopsy, but, when she said "Well, it certainly presents like inflammatory breast cancer", I insisted, despite her quickly following up with "But I've never seen it in a 22 year old".

Since I am a) paranoid and b) pushy, I pointed out that there is a first time for everything, and, while I sure as shit hoped this wasn't that time, I would prefer that she test the 22 year old with the rash that presented like inflammatory breast cancer and a family history of aggressive breast cancer rather than crossing our fingers and hoping that it wasn't cancer while allowing it another potential month to spread.

Whew. Run on, sentence, run on!

Anyway, the doctor acquiesced to my demands and the biopsy was conducted and, we got the news today that a) Queen B does not have cancer and b) I am indeed paranoid.

But, I would rather be paranoid alllll day long then be the mother of a cancer patient.

So! On to the PSA!

Ladies, check your breasts regularly for lumps, thickening of the breast tissue, and/or changes in the skin on your breasts. Inflammatory breast cancer, while not as prevalent as other types of breast cancer, is extremely aggressive and harder to treat. It presents as a rash on the breast tissue, often resembling an orange peel, and is sometimes warm to the touch. If you notice any change in your breasts, consult your doctor; it really is better to be safe than sorry considering that early detection increases the chances of survival.

And, that's the story. So, now you know.


Last time I ever hope to view this particular scene, thankyouverymuch


Tuesday, October 02, 2018

October

Two days in and it's already been a scary month; not because of ghosts or goblins, but, due to some scary medical stuff going on with Queen B. I won't go into details at the moment, mostly because we don't know all of the details just yet, but I will say that she had an uncomfortable procedure done today and her anxiety was heightened, which is why the following text exchange with Mikey provided some very well-timed, and much needed, humor.




I love these kids of mine, both bio and bonus.