Author Archives: mommyk8

First Ever Blog Giveaway!

I’ve decided to do a giveaway! No, I’m not trying to drum up likes or traffic. I think some bloggers, like me, actually give stuff away because they want to do something nice, and believe in a product. I’m giving away 2 copies of this book:

This book is amazing. While it is Buddhist pilosophy, I think that it could be useful for anyone of any religion or non-religion. (Shout out to the Atheists!) I myself, in case you were wondering, am Agnostic. The most wishy-washy of all religious types. I pretty much steal from everyone and mash it up how I see fit. I digress. Back to the book, it’s fantastic. It’s not just for times of grieving or hard times, it’s a great read even if things are going well.

As Amazon says, this book explains:
•  Using painful emotions to cultivate wisdom, compassion, and courage
•  Communicating so as to encourage others to open up rather than shut down
•  Practices for reversing habitual patterns
•  Methods for working with chaotic situations
•  Ways for creating effective social action

I mean, who couldn’t benefit from this book?

I’ve decided to do a giveaway because I love this book so much I’ve been wanting to send it to everyone I know. I feel that strongly about it. However, it might seem odd to my friends if they all just start getting copies of this book in the mail. By doing a giveaway, people can just tell me they want it!

Oh, I’m supposed to let you know, this is totally my own thing. I’m not being paid to do this giveaway. Amazon doesn’t have anything to do with it, Pema Chodron doesn’t have anything to do with it. I don’t know her, or anyone at Amazon. (I think that should cover it, right?)

So! If you want a copy of this book, just write a comment. Only enter once. Don’t be greedy. If you enter more than once, and you win, I will not send you the book! How do you like that, cheaters?

I will select 2 winners at random in 2 weeks. (Oct 10, 2014) Good luck!

PS, if this goes well, I might do more book giveaways. I love books.

PPS, it would be really nice if you’d share this far and wide. I’d like to spread the love for this book, but you don’t get extra entries or anything. Also, be sure to comment HERE and not on FB. Thank you.

Grateful. Humble. Lucky

Via Creative Commons

I’ve been thinking about writing thank-you cards. Notice I didn’t say, “I’ve been writing thank-you cards”. I can’t quite find the words to express the depth of my gratitude to each individual person that’s helped me. For some reason, it’s easier and seems more meaningful to let the world know how I’m feeling right now. If you know me personally, you know that I recently lost my brother in-law. We were friends for over 20 years. I will miss him every day. I wrote a little about it here.

After he died, I debated for a few days about whether or not to say anything about it on Facebook. Yes, I’d made dozens of phone calls to inform those closest to him about his passing, but something about social media seemed so strange. Also, he hated Facebook. I decided to go ahead and do it, it was the fastest way to inform everyone I knew, and by proxy most of the people he knew what had happened. The response was both what I expected and entirely unexpected. Dozens of shocked and saddened friends e-mailed and called me offering support and sympathy. Friends that I hadn’t spoken to in years reached out. It was a humbling and enlightening experience. Thank you.

Aside from social media, my family received the normal offers of support. I am not trying to minimize these offerings in any way. All of it was extraordinarily helpful and kind.  Food, cards, offers to babysit, hugs. We needed these things badly. I had a terrible bout of insomnia and didn’t sleep for 3 days. Meatballs and chicken soup and lasagna from friends kept me going, not just because I needed food, but because I knew that all of these things were prepared for our family out of love, and with each bite I was reminded of the support system we have. Thank you.

I experienced something I was totally unprepared and am eternally grateful for. Friends peeled back protective layers of carefully curated bandages and armor and showed me their scars and grief tattoos. They pointed to these old wounds and said, “This is where I sustained a near mortal wound. It hurts still. I don’t like talking about it, but I will, with you, because I love you. Because it will help.” And we talked about lost siblings, and mothers, and fathers, and grandparents, and best friends. And they all told me almost the exact same thing, “I didn’t think I could get through this, but I did. You will too. It will be OK.” They all said, “Anything you feel is normal. Grief is weird. Your body is weird. Just roll with it.” In order to help me, these friends opened up and exposed brutal old wounds. It was an extremely courageous and loving thing to do. Thank you.

I’m still going to send some cards, but I just want the world to know what an amazing group of people I have in my life. I am lucky. Thank you.

 

100 Days

This 100 thinger came from bookriot.com

I’m not going to lie, I’m writing this post mostly because I have a ton of other things to do. I’m staring at a huge pile of laundry, and I have some assignments due for school. (Oh you didn’t know I’m back in school? I am. I’ll tell you more about it later) Anyhow, you guys know I love making challenges and joining things and whatnot, right? Go check out the unreasonable goals. That’s my annual list.

In light of recent events, I’ve made 3, 100-day challenges for myself. That is, I would like to do each thing consecutively for 100 days.  However, much to the dismay of my OCD, I started them all on different days. Oh well. Anyhow, this is the craziness I’m up to right now.

100 day plan.

Exercise – 20 minutes every day – minimum. No excuses. I am currently on Day 7.

No Booze. 100 Days – currently on Day 14.

Daily 10-minute Writing Prompt Exercise – currently on Day 1.

I am not going to post my daily progress on these. Maybe I will just make a spreadsheet. Nay, I will definitely make a spreadsheet. I love that shit.

Why am I doing this? I don’t know. I like doing things like this. I got inspired by Jillian Michaels 100-Day challenge, but I like doing other things than just her workouts, so I changed it a bit. The no booze is just a self-improvement experiment. The writing is something I’ve been needing to commit to for a long time.

I like keeping busy. I like measuring progress. I like setting difficult but attainable goals.

The Grief Tattoo

This is how I envision my grief tattoo. Could be worse, I guess. If you have a grief tattoo, post it in the comments. It’s very freeing to put an image with your horrible tattoo. Via Uproxx

I lost my brother in-law a little less than 2 weeks ago. It’s been incredibly painful for everyone that knew him. I’ve had a hard time. I’ve learned a lot. I’m still learning a lot. It’s only been 11 days, I cannot profess to be the grief guru yet, but I did want to share something that I have realized and I think will remain a constant through throughout this process:

Grief is not something you get through.

Now, now. Don’t freak out on me here. Bear with me a moment, OK? When I am going through something, I am an obsessive researcher and reader and reacher-outer. So much I’ve read online is about ‘getting through grief’. Here’s what I say, “That’s Bullshit”. Grief is not something you get through. Grief is something you absorb. It is not a marathon or a Tough-Mudder. You will not power through it via endurance or brute strength. Grief is more like being held down and tattooed against your will. It sneaks up on you while you are just doing your thing, throws you in the back of a van with some huge scary dudes who proceed to tattoo something horrible and not of your choosing onto you. It is  frightening and incredibly painful at first. It burns a lot. It’s violating and traumatizing. Then, the dudes let you out of the van with a couple of band-aids and some tubes of antibacterial cream. Huh. That was weird and horrible, right? Your new tattoo throbs and aches and oozes blood and clear stuff. But no matter how much you hate it, you must not let it get infected, at all costs. Put the cream on it. Keep it clean. Tend to it every day. Try very hard not to pick the scabs and crust that form over it. Oh, it itches so much. SO MUCH. It drives you crazy, this new, unwanted tattoo. You want to claw at it and rip it off and dig the newly healed spots. But you can’t. You mustn’t. You must keep putting that salve on it. Eventually, it starts to get better. I don’t know when yours will feel better. People heal at different rates. Someday you will be left with a completely healed, horrible tattoo you don’t want. You will look at it every day, but it won’t hurt anymore. You will be able to point to it and say, ‘Let me tell you how I got this really stupid tattoo I hate.” and you can tell the story.

And that is why you don’t get through grief. You just let it sink into your skin like ink, and you learn to live with it, and you will hate it, but it’s OK. It’s part of you now.

 

 

This Isn’t Funny

Pretty much.

‘I saw your post on FB about those people who got busted with $70K and heroin. You should be careful. People like that are dangerous. You never know.’

My Dad said this to me yesterday about a post I made about a couple, that I don’t know, who got busted in my town. The horrifying comment I made was this, ‘My town. Classy. Also, check out the dude’s shirt’. He got busted while wearing a Breaking Bad fleece. I find that hilarious. Anyhow, the point of this is; my Dad thinks that these people are going to track me down and do something horrible to me. In other words; watch what you say, there could be consequences.

I’m tired. I’m very very tired of being afraid to write. You may think, from my previous posts, and certainly if you know me in real life, that I don’t give a shit.  I do. I give many shits.  I am nearly paralyzed with fear writing every post. This one makes me feel like throwing up.

My family has always been very supportive of my writing, as long as I don’t say anything personal, or anything that could get me into trouble, or anything that could be controversial. I am an excellent reporter, I am an excellent essayist. If anything gets into sharing feelings or non-funny anecdotes, or anything that might be controversial, forget it.

There have been numerous times in my life, my earlier life, when I got in so much trouble for my writing it actually changed the course of my life. Time and time again, I learned that writing = punishment. You’d think that I would have just stopped. I can’t. Maybe I’m a masochist. Writing is what I have wanted to do since I was in the 2nd grade.

Lately I have come up against a creative block unlike anything I’ve been through before. I’m scared of it. I simultaneously feel like I’m backed up against a wall and at the edge of a bottomless pit. It’s the fear. I have the fear. It’s not a fear of success, it’s not a fear of failure, it’s fear of being punished for what I have to say. Let’s face it, with the way the internet is, it’s a very real possibility. But, here’s the other thing, if I don’t let go, if I don’t start writing some real shit, I’m all done as a writer. I will never be able to write a good memoir, or a really gruesome horror story, or a super steamy sex scene.

The boat is going down, but I still have a couple seconds to put on the survival suit, and that’s exactly what I plan to do.

Let It Go

How many blog posts have that title right now, eh? Thanks, Disney! Anyhow, let’s discuss letting things go, shall we? I think we could all use a little letting go. I’ll start. I’m letting go of pretending that I am a DIYer. I’m not. It’s not going to happen. ‘But Kate, you have like 9 Pinterest boards filled with gardening and house stuff and crafts‘. I KNOW. I know this. But that is because I WANT to be a DIYer, that is not the same as being a DIYer. I’m going to tell you right now, I’m never going to paint a room, sew a dress, or plant an amazing flower garden. This is not for lack of trying. I am good at a lot of things, doing things myself is not one of them.

Not really sure what this is about, but I found it on wikimedia. I’m very interested in learning about this anti climb paint….

I cannot paint at all. ‘Oh, but it’s so easy! You just move all the things and then tape it up and then prime it and then paint it and then take the tape down and then put all the things back and you’re done!’. Wow, you make it sound so enticing! Look, I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler. Even knowing this about myself, I attempted to paint our upstairs bathroom a few years ago. I read all the tutorials, I went to the store and discussed painting with the dude, and bought all the supplies he told me to get. I taped, I primed, I painted. In addition to the paint that I managed to get on the ceiling and the unevenness in spots – which I was totally ready to tolerate – the paint is now crackling and peeling in such a way I’m going to have to pay someone at least a grand to come fix. Instead of owning my inability to paint I spent about $150 to DIY, that is now going to be $1000 to fix. Awesome!

Sewing. I pretend that I can sew things. As you can imagine, with my inability to draw a straight line, I am also unable to cut things in a straight line or sew things in a straight line. A very, very simple project such as my recent attempt to turn a maxi dress into a skirt – a 5 minute task for most – took me over 2 hours, and it’s still not done. Now I have one ruined dress, a lost afternoon, and a sewing machine with a bunch of mangled thread stuck in the bobbin hole.

Alluring, no? Outcome desired, will achieve via visit to farmers’ market.

Gardening. I live on 3 acres of land. I’d say about 1/2 acre is lawn. Maybe a bit more. I have a VERY TINY little spot that I have dumped, oh I’d say probably $1200 into over the past decade, trying to turn it into a Beautiful! Fun! So Easy! Flower garden. I’ve bought dirt, I’ve dug, I’ve mulched, I’ve planted. I’ve replanted. I’ve remulched. Every year the weeds creep in and every year I say, ‘Fuck it, this is stupid.’ Then every Spring I go ahead and do it again. ‘How about one of those neat strawberry towers that you grow in pots? Little maintenance! So pretty! So delicious.’ Made it. Looked like shit. Didn’t yield anything. Froze and blew apart.

I get it. I’m supposed to feel bad that I am terrible at DIY. I’m supposed to enjoy doing this stuff, and I am not under any circumstances supposed to pay someone else to do it, or buy things premade. I’m tired of it. There are a lot of things I do really well. As you can see – I’m an excellent writer. I can cook like a bad-ass. I can knit actual, wearable things. I’m done. I’m ready to let go feeling bad about and aspiring to do things that just aren’t worth it to me. Not only am I ready to let it go, I’m ready to say, ‘I don’t care.’

Ringers Are Key

Chugging right along on my list of Unreasonable Goals. Doing really well this year. I have to say, I’m really enjoying the Reddit food challenge. No, I haven’t posted any of my progress on Reddit because I’m scared to death of those kids. I’ve taken some pretty crappy photos of some of my meals so far:

 

Challenge Eggs. I didn’t do anything wild, just scrambies.

Challenge Polish. I made my first pierogies! They looked horrible but tasted pretty good. Didn’t make wrappers, used wonton instead. Not bad.

Challenge One Pot. Beef Stew. So good

I’m trying to stretch my cooking legs a bit, but I admit to making some stuff I’ve made before. I’ve kept up with each week so far, well, except last week – poaching. I plan on poaching something AND doing a TV inspired meal this week. I’m thinking about making an enormous amount of pudding, inspired by Walking Dead:

Oh, Carl. Such a little shit. Via Mashable

I’m taking a class at USM this semester, and it requires a fair amount of reading. In order to stay on my game, I’m counting my books for class towards my goal. ONLY if I read the whole book though. OCD, OCD. I just read Gilgamesh for class. I think I read it when I was a freshmen in high school also. I highly recommend it. Excellent read. I just finished the Man Booker Prize winning Luminaries. I give it a hearty shoulder shrug. Good mystery. Relied way to heavily on structural tricks. I don’t have time for that sort of thing. Interesting concept though.

I registered for the Dynamic Dirt Challenge, so I’m on my way to completing that goal. If it ever stops snowing I can start running again. Meanwhile I’m working on upper body strength, since according to YouTube videos of the event, I will need to do some army crawling through pipes and whatnot.

I’ve been updating my spreadsheet regularly and am really happy with my progress so far this year. I never expect to reach all my goals each year. Honestly, I figure if I end up with a year-end avg of over 30% I’ve done a hell of a job.