Thursday, April 11, 2013

Snow Day in April

I stayed home today because we had a serious snowstorm. The first one this year where it truly seemed unsafe to drive - and I had to wait until April to get it! This time of year, I'd like to be raking up the yard, meeting this year's flock of chickens, and going for walks out here in the country. Hopefully the snow melts quickly and we can move on to a few weeks of spring before summer hits.

I just finished a pair of socks for my friend Mallory. She's a major Harry Potter fan, and I read all the books for the first time this winter. We were talking about the limited edition HP sock yarn Opal put out a few years ago, and she asked me to knit a pair of socks for her. She feels pretty certain she'd be sorted into Slytherin, so I knit up these socks for her in Knit Picks Essential Kettle Dyed (old school!) and Regia Baby.

I hope she loves them!

Shepherd's Harvest, the MN sheep and wool festival, is coming up in a few weeks. I look forward to it every year and try to knit something special for it. This year, I'm knitting a shawl with my own handspun yarn. The fiber is SW merino from Cloudlover, and I bought it at the festival last year. I've been spinning it since before November (or more accurately, not spinning it) and just finished it a week or two ago. I got a lightweight yarn, two-plied, and I picked the Sunlight Shawl for Sad People to show it off. The colorway is called Morocco and I love, love, love it.

I didn't count my yardage but I have a feeling this is going to be a huge shawl once completed. I'm going to a big conference in Duluth this weekend with lots of speakers, so I'll get some good knitting time in. I have about 4 weeks to finish it, so the countdown is on!


Friday, March 15, 2013

Hats for Gillian - a retrospective

I love my cousin Gillian. And she loves hand-knit hats. Here are some of the hats I've knit for her over the years:

The first hat, knit in 2007 when we went to Kentucky.

Knit this hat on request in the popular Zissou style, in 2008.

This one was knit with leftovers from Gillian's blanket, and was the beginning of the popular yellowhat series. 2009.
Also in 2009 - a copy of the turquoise original above. Gillian has no qualms about loosing hats either.
This remake of the yellow one above was knit in 2012. I swear there was another yellow hat between this one and the last yellow one.

Well, this hat apparently ran off as well. Or was misplaced. Or something. So I whipped up a great Rikke hat out of RYC Merino Silk and some Liberty Wool. Brian took the pictures, so they went something like this:

Not a great hat picture, for obvious reasons. And this:


Yeah. Plenty of artistic vision and all, but seriously.

Getting closer...

Aw, well, that will have to do. Enjoy, Gillian! As long as you keep loving them, I'll keep knitting them!


Saturday, March 2, 2013

The return of the sweater (and some hats)

Last year was all about the baby sweaters - I think I ended up knitting a dozen of them? Since I knit 11 sweaters in 2011, I was really burned out on large garments. I actually haven't knit an adult sweater since December 2011 - with the exception of the Alberta vest for Mr. Anderson on commission this past fall.

A combination of feeling oppression by my gigantic yarn stash, as well as having a yearning for a good sweater, has led me to pull out some KP Palette in my stash and find a pattern. I have 4.5 skeins of Silver and the better part of a skein of Sweet Potato, so not a ton of yardage. I decided to knit Paulie, even though I don't have enough yarn. I'm knitting a size smaller than I usually would, with larger needles for a looser gauge. I hope it maximizes my yardage, and I will likely end up doing short sleeves too. I'm also skipping the shawl collar. There are some really gorgeous projects on Ravelry without the shawl collar and it will be another way to skimp on yardage. I'm working on the garter yoke now, and am excited to see if my plotting worked out.

Prior to this sweater, I whipped up some hats with some of the yarn I bought when we were in Milwaukee a few weeks ago. I knit this hat for Brian out of the Mountain Colors Crazyfoot he picked out:

It's a modified version of the Molly hat. Brian requested a slouch hat in lightweight yarn, with cables. Seeing Christie's Molly hat really inspired me, and I monkeyed with the pattern to make it work with my yarn. I cast on 120 stitches and increased to 132 after the ribbing. I repeated the cable three times around the hat. Brian really likes it, which is always thrilling! He likes to make mean faces when I'm trying to make him model finished projects, though.

I knit myself a new hat too, using the Noro Silk Garden Lite I got on sale at Midwest Yarns in Milwaukee. The pattern is Rikke, and i have been super into stripes lately. I used some random gray yarn from my stash for the contrast color, and I think it really shows off the transitions of the Noro.

It's really hard to take pictures of your own head, by the way.

This hat is truly phenomenal and I want to knit one billion more of them! When I finish my sweater, of course...

Finally, I just have to say I am really excited for spring. This is our second spring on our little farmstead, and I can't wait to get the chickens and garden going. I loved the snowy winter we had, and I'm ready for the next season's transition!


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Milwaukee (again)

For the third year, we celebrated Brian's birthday in Milwaukee with a trip to Ray's Indoor Mountain Bike Park. Since this was the third time we went, I felt really comfortable driving around the city and enjoyed exploring new yarn stores while Brian rode bike. I found a neat shop, Knitch, in Delafield. Brian picked out yarn for a new fingering-weight hat he wanted

It's Mountain Colors Crazyfoot, a yarn I've only used once before and really liked. I also stopped at the Knitting Knook, a store near our hotel that I went to last year. It's an eclectic store, lots of odds and ends sort of stuffed in everywhere. There space is small so I understand why they have to squeeze everything in. I splurged and bought three skeins of Malabrigo Rios, two in Piedras and one in a coordinating brown. Total impulse buy!

I love this yarn, soft and beautiful. I also picked up a skein of Dream in Color Squooshy in Scorched Lime. I could have bought a few more things... But I used my powers of restraint! I've been feeling sort of oppressed by my yarn stash and have been trying to sell off skeins that don't call to me. Buying more yarn does not help resolve this feeling, of course. But I've been wanting to clear my space out in a big way, throw out clothes I don't wear, get rid of kitchen gadgets, toss old shoes - spring fever? Anyway.

I went to some yarn stores that were new to me as well. My new favorite yarn store in MKE, and highly recommended, is Cream City Yarn. Beautiful store layout, beautiful yarn. My only gripe is that the more popular indie yarns - MadTosh. Sweet Georgia, etc., were really picked over and had only a few colorways left. Completely understandable. Staff was helpful, and I loved the yarns I picked out. I also treated myself to a new Namaste Better Buddy case in bright, happy yellow. My last stop was Midwest Yarns, in a cute storefront location on KK down the road from Classic Slice. I picked out a skein of Phydeaux Yarns fingering weight, and I am so in love with this yarn. I had never even heard of it and its just phenomenal! I'm so glad I stopped in. Midwest Yarns is a small shop, only open a few months, and needs some more settling in. It's really charming and I could tell the owner had a real vision of how the shop will look when it's fully stocked and fills the space. The owner and her son were both charming and I'm glad I checked it out. My total yarn haul was pretty substantial with all the stops, and I really love everything I got - the best kind of souvenir!

We enjoyed awesome food throughout our trip too. Highlights include Maxie's Southern Comfort (Louisiana BBQ shrimp, fish fry and crawfish po'boy), Palamino Bar (vegan tot'chos which were OMFG awesome, vegan chicken-fried steak, and vegan macaroni and not-cheese), Classic Slice (vegan Mediterranean pizza and vegan 'sausage' and olive calzone, we have eaten here on every trip and keep coming back for more!), and Comet Cafe (phenomenal vegan wings that even our meat-eating friends enjoyed, vegan Salisbury steak, ahi tuna sandwich, and Brian had a malted chocolate cupcake). We ate at the Comet Cafe with my dearest knitwear-receiving cousin Gillian and her bf Sam, who lives in Milwaukee. They were celebrating finding a gorgeous apartment in the neighborhood, a really fun, young part of town. Look at these cuties:

We don't take such nice pictures. We're weirdos, can't hide it.

It seems like Milwaukee has a great vegan eats scene, and we were happy to sample it. Special shout out to the Palamino for their food. Although I make better vegan mac myself, the other things we ate there were rad, especially the tot'chos - tater tots with nacho teese sauce, lettuce, fake sour cream, and hot hot salsa. Oh my stars and garters. For real. (Photo below)

The only raincloud on our trip was coming home and finding out I was billed $299 per night (for three nights!!) for the hotel room instead of the $87 rate I was quoted! You can believe I straightened that out with the hotel right quick, and they ended up charging us $65/night to make up for the mistake. All is forgiven.

After three trips to Milwaukee, I have to say I am ready to travel to some new places for our next winter trip. As lovely as the place is, it's far from a scenic destination in January! Hopefully I can get Brian to look at a new spot for next year.


Friday, November 9, 2012

The huge crush I have on my job

I keep saying I'm going to blog more. I still haven't figured out if this is a knitting blog, a cooking blog, or a confessional-diary blog. It might just be a place where I check in with whatever I'm doing - often knitting, of course. Well.

What's new: Last week I started my DREAM JOB working at a halfway house with women in early recovery from drug addiction. Our program was the first in MN to allow women to have their children with them in a halfway house. The first time I heard about the place and what they do, I was astounded. Why doesn't everyone do it this way? I haven't figured that out, but we're doing it, we're damned good at it, and it works for our clients.

I have been wanting to work here forever and I first applied in March 2010. I was losing my grant-funded job in the schools and saw there was an opening, and I thought "It must be the Universe's will for me to be there!" Well, apparently it wasn't. I didn't have the right credentials. I was crushed. CRUSHED. I mean, I found my mom and cried (at 25 years old) and went to a meeting and worked some steps on it. And then I went back to school and got the classes I needed, did an internship at this amazing halfway house and fell even more in love with it, and got the right credentials. But - there was no job there by that point. So a position was created for me as a sort of substitute counselor, covering maternity leaves and vacations and illnesses at all our affiliated programs. I worked with men, women, seniors, children, families, everyone. I did whatever needed doing and went wherever I was sent. I did this for two years, trusting that I was where I was meant to be. I loved the saying by Therese Stewart-Jacobs: "Paths are made by walking." So I just kep moving forward. And I made it no secret that the women's halfway program was my happy place.

The week of my birthday this fall, I found out there was an opening at my happy place. I was completely delighted. Giddy. This was the same week the article came out that I blogged about previously. I was psyched. I prayed, I brushed up my resume, I talked about it to death, I worked steps on it (nothing like reading the 3rd step prayer on the highway at 70mph because you are sick of feeling miserable!), I interviewed, I fretted, I worked more steps, and then I was hired. Miracle. Miracle, miracle.

So I started last Thursday, and everything Oprah said about having your dream job is true. The thing I remember most from Oprah's dream jobs episode (which I saw in 2010 while I was interning) is that your dream job gives you energy. It excites you. You talk about it even when you're not there. You get a sense of meaning and gratitude from your work. Dream job: I haz it!

I still have to do crappy paperwork and deal with annoyances like everyone else. But I get to celebrate women getting their lives back, even when it runs contrary to everything their addictive illness is telling them. I get to work with a group of smart, talented, committed professionals who are funny as hell. And I get the satisfaction of knowing I'm right where I'm supposed to be. I love my job. How freaking awesome is that?!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Coming clean

Last summer, I somehow ended up telling my boss's boss's boss - the director of behavioral health something or other for the hospital system I work for - that I received drug treatment as a teen through the program I now work for. That sort of disclosure is fairly well received in my company, as we like to hear about successes. So the big boss asked if I was willing to share my story as part of fundraising to expand the adolescent program, to put a face to the assertion that adolescent treatment works. So I agreed to that, and they used a few quotes from me in a PowerPoint presentation to investors.

Then the PR department emailed and asked if I would agree to share my story in our community newsletter. With my full name. and my picture! That freaked me out. I like to stay private. I believe that addicts in recovery are not more qualified as drug counselors, and I earnestly defend my colleagues who are not addicts themselves. I also like my anonymity, my ability to appear as a "normie", and not be some magic special success story of recovery, or freak who couldn't figure out how to have a good time without getting obliterated. And there's still judgement and stigma about addiction and recovery. So, I took my own good advice and consulted with my wise people - in this case, my boss, her boss, and my mom. My supervisors were understanding of my fears but encouraged me to do the story. Finally, my mom said something that really resonated with me: "We have to tell people that treatment works."

So I agreed to do the story, and the writer - Andra Van Kempen - was so awesome. She asked great questions, she tried to see from my perspective, she listened to me talk for two hours. She was able to take the big-ness of my story, the way all our stories are big, and distill it down to a one-page article that still remained true to my experiences.

The response I've gotten has been so positive, and I'm really grateful I did the story. We really do recover, y'all.


You can read it here: Addiction Counselor Comes Full Circle



Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Dear knitting,

I love you.


Jenna Kate

P.S. how are you so awesome all the time? XOXO

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Unstoppable camping

Last weekend we left for Banning State Park on Sunday. I started developing the flu on Saturday night, but I'm stubborn and I really was looking forward to camping so we went. Brian doesn't like camping. Which he reminded me several times. So we took lovely photos like this:

Coffee is very important to me, even when camping. Particularly as I had the flu - being well caffeinated is important. So instead of doing the typical percolator over the fire, I went with the Starbucks Via instant coffee, which didn't suck. I would recommend it. Our campsite was beautifully wooded and the campground was quiet, clean, and well-run.

The Quarry Trail at Banning was especially beautiful. Banning is near the town of Sandstone, MN, and there they mined -big shocker- sandstone! The quarry went bust in 1918 and became a state park, but many buildings remain. There's an excellent trail guide to all the old features, and we really enjoyed our hike.

This reminded me of something out of Lost. Trains used to run between the stone walls and Brian climbed down to check it out.

The Kettle River runs through the park and we hiked some gnarly post-flooding trail. That was really fun - I was feeling adventurous so I jumped off a bunch of random dangerous stuff and surprised Brian. The river was so beautiful!

Brian climbed inside this weird pothole thing. He had a rock climbing phase when we lived in Grand Forks, and he's still really good at it!

Tired hikers!
There was another building where the power was generated, all four walls were standing and we climbed inside for a closer look.

That's where our hike started to sort of suck. My shoe got stuck in a crazy bog caused by a spring, and when Brian tried to rescue me he got stuck by a wasp or hornet. I couldn't get the stinger out but luckily we both survived the hike back to our campsite where we ate veggie dogs and pretzels and s'mores.

The next day i woke up at 6am and read until Brian woke up. I read a great book called After Life, which i definitely recommend! I took a powerful 2 hour nap and then we went to the Hinckley Fire Museum. I love museums and historical stuff and old stories, so it was one attraction I didn't want to miss! Unfortunately my fever was really high when we were there, so I was shivering badly and was a little weepy. The museum was really well done and despite being sick I was still in a crazy great mood and loved it! When my mind is made up that I'm going to be happy, damnit, I will be! But Brian was all freaked out so we were going to grab some lunch in Hinckley and head back to camp. Once I got some food and ibuprofen in me, I felt much better so we went on to St. Croix State Park for a bike ride. I wasn't that impressed - there was a terrible windstorm a year or two ago and the park was devastated. It looked like loggers had come through and smashed everything. But we rode a leisurely 10 miles and waved at Wisconsin across the river.

That night we had veggie burgers and grilled corn. Brian made me supper because I was feeling crappy, and we hung out and made s'mores. I ate so damned many s'mores, whoa. I make mine with fudge stripe cookies instead of graham crackers and Hershey's bars, and they're really delicious.

On Tuesday, we had to get back so Brian could work a short shift at the bike shop. I also had plans to get my 10 year sobriety medallion at my 12-step group that night. (YAY!) So we had a quick lunch and packed out. We didn't get a chance to see the waterfalls at Banning, or hike any of the other trails, so I would definitely like to get out there again. Brian still hates camping so we will see how soon that happens! He enjoyed himself overall, but Brian is not adventurous like me.

So, I'm still sick (a week later!) but have been knitting lots so it's not the worst. Hopefully I feel better soon so we can go on more adventures. We're hoping to go to Portland in October. Brian is in the process of transitioning to a new job so we're not sure if he'll be able to get the time off. His new job involves traveling to Chippewa Falls, WI several days per week so hopefully I will tag along and I can call it an adventure!


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ravellenic Shawl

I knit a shawl as part of the Ravellenics, a knitting challenge that takes place concurrently with the Olympics. I participated in the "Shawl Sailing" event, and knit a small shawl from the new Knitscene. I mentioned it in my last blog post. The yarn is Cascade Heritage Silk Blends, and the colors really fit in with my current wardrobe. I haven't decided if I'm keeping it or will gift it for Christmas. It's narrower that it seemed to look in the magazine, more like a scarf than a shawl. It still turned out beautifully!


I also finished a pair of socks for my dad for Christmas. He's a huge fan of SCSU's Husky Hockey team. I k it him socks in their colors (black and red) to keep his toes warm at games. The yarn is Knit Picks Felici Sport. This is another yarn that's really nice for the price. The yardage is a little skimpy for a man's sock so the length of the leg is on the short side.

I just finished another shawl for the Ravellenics last night, the Saroyan Shawl, out of Malabrigo worsted. Once it's blocked I should have some FO pics to share! Brian and I are planning a camping trip and I'm very excited to work on a camping knitting project. There are so few distractions while camping that I can really get into a complicated project that I wouldn't normally knit at home. Whoohoo!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Fun on the water

Yesterday Brian and I spent the afternoon with our friends Kris, Kyia, and Aunders. It was hot, and a great day to be on the water.

Brian tried stand-up paddle boarding for the first time. It was a little windy on the Mississippi but Brian got the hang of it really quickly.

I totally spaced out grabbing my swimsuit when we left the house, so my paddle boarding will come another day. Kris tore up the paddle board on some sick waves (I know! On the river!) and ended up in the drink a few times. Not unexpected when you live on the edge, I guess. Kyia took a turn on the paddleboard, and Aunders even joined in by floating on his new blow-up baby jetski. He is such an adorable kid! I hung out on the pontoon and worked on my Ravellenics shawl, the Perpetual Shawl from the Fall 2012 Knitscene. Here's an in progress shot from earlier this week:

Yarn is a new one to me, Cascade Heritage Silk Blends. Very nice yarn, and reasonably priced too.

To celebrate Aunders' first birthday last week, I knit him a boating sweater. The irony of knitting a child a boating sweater really cracked me up. I knit the 2 year old size, since he is growing so quickly, and I think it turned out great.

It's just a little too big so he'll be able to wear it for quite a bit longer, I hope. The pattern is Seaside Sweater, which I ended up paying for to get all the sizes. I thought the pattern left something to be desired - the width of the sleeves was too narrow as written and I ripped them out and made up my own. Plus the pattern directed the knitter to graft the sleeves at top of arm - I did a three-needle bind-off. The yarn is Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece and I thought it was perfect for this pattern. Very cute!

We're having a great summer, hope you are too!


Monday, July 16, 2012

Working out with baby sister

For my sister's 21st birthday last month, we went out to brunch. We talked about some fitness and nutrition stuff, and I invited her to train with me some time. I was so excited when we made plans to get together an do it! We've been working out weekly for the past month, and the kid is such a trouper. I put together a fierce workout for tonight which I thought I'd share if anyone is interested.

PT with Catie, 7/15/12

Cardio drill : 5 min

High knees 1 min

5 burpees

Mountain climbers 1 min

5 burpees

Jumping jacks 1 min

5 burpees

Low shuffle 1 min (we ended up wussing out and did a minute of toe taps instead - hopping on foot while tapping the other foot on an elevated step, back and forth)

5 burpees



20 reps, down by 2's: (20 reps the first time of each, then 18 of each, etc. We wussed out again and started at 10 reps instead of 20) bicep curls/squat and press up/tricep extensions

20 reps, down by 2's: Pushups/curtsy lunge/squat jump

20 reps, down by 2's: lunge with elevated back leg/squat pulse/Thigh pulse (thigh pulse move is the first one here)


Russian twist x20, 2 sets

Side crunch - these are just little crunches with bend knees laying on the floor to your left & to your right. 25 crunches each side.

Tap to sides - sit on the ground, lean back onto elbows, bent knees together, alternate tapping toes to either side. I think we did 30 reps?

60 seconds of crunches

And then we ran out of time so we had to stretch it out & quit :( 40 minute workout total, we were sweating like crazy!

Here's my cute sister at the birthday brunch! Love this kid, she's so tough and hardly complains!



Saturday, July 7, 2012

Knitting Denial

Denial. I haz it.


I am knitting a fine birthday sweater for a soon-to-be one-year-old, and I have encountered a problem. If I do what the pattern says, this almost one-year-old will not be able to fit his chubby little arms into the sleeves. But like a "good girl" (ugh), I knit on while ignoring my growing unease. After kitchenering 92 stitches together, reality crashed in and I had to tink it all back. After having a knitting tantrum first. I am an otherwise mostly reasonable adult woman, with an above-average IQ when last tested. Yet I refused to accept the facts, and now I am paying for it. Sigh.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Super summer veggie salad

Hey! It's the first day of July! Can you believe that?!

My parents came over and grilled out with me today while Brian was at work. My mom bought a grill on Craigslist for $30, and my dad spiffed it up by adding a new handle, igniter switch, and tank. Thanks, guys! They brought it over with some burgers and boca burgers. My mom had to test out their handiwork!


Aren't they so cute? :)

For my contribution, I made a pasta salad. I wanted something light but tasty. I threw together this vegan variation on the fly, and included lots of summer veggies. It's a twist on the Italian pasta salad that's common around here in Central Minnesota - only that version typically has things like mozzarella, pepperoni, cheddar cheese, etc. If you want a fresher pasta salad for your next gathering, try mine!


Here's what I did:

Cook half a box of pasta according to directions and run it under cool water. I used the store brand bow tie pasta.

Mix in a large bowl:

A diced carrot, some chopped red onion, 5 mini sweet peppers sliced into rings, a small can of black olives, 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (please use fresh herbs! It tastes like summer!), a chopped crown of fresh broccoli, a can of rinsed kidney beans, and half a yellow summer squash, sliced thinly. (even if you don't like squash, just use it anyway. It soaks up the dressing and you won't even taste it!)

Add the cooled pasta and 2/3 of a bottle of Wishbone Fat Free Italian dressing. I like this brand because it is sweetened with stevia instead of Splenda, and contains no dairy. Win! Stir it all together to blend. Some people like to chill their pasta salad so the favors blend for a while - I like my food favors pretty distinct, personally, so I just mixed it up and served it. Yum! It made 6 generous (like, 2 cups per) servings which came in at 285 calories per serving. My dad couldnt get enough! That little bowl in the picture was all that was leftover - and then Brian and I finished it for supper.

What are your favorite grilling recipes?


Sunday, July 1, 2012

I don't do it all.

Inspired by a post at Tiny Twig, I wanted to write about a few things I don't do. I think that her post speaks well to the pressures women face, and the unrealistic expectation in our society that we're supposed to have it all because we do it all. I cannot be Suzy Homemaker, the Pioneer Woman, Martha Stewart, and the Working Girl. All these ideals are nice individually, but to stack all on top of each other, one after another, is simply oppressive. Forgive me if I overlap on some of the ideas mentioned on Tiny Twig - they're simply true for me as well.

1. I don't clean my house. I absolutely hate cleaning. I could blame it on my feminist beliefs about the second shift, or terrible childhood memories of being screamed at by my stepdad to clean the house, or any number of other reasons. Whatever. Anyway. I pay a lovely friend to spend two hours every other week to clean my home - it's completely affordable and I'm a total evangelist about it. If you think you can't afford to have someone clean your home, or your home is too messy/dirty/big to have anyone else clean it, or you will be LESS THAN if you don't clean it yourself - good god, if you hate cleaning like I do, set yourself free!

2. I don't keep in touch. I love meeting people and I make friends easily. But when I move on, I move on. Without Facebook, there are many people I would not have heard from in years. I'm just not that into working hard for friendships - maybe because new ones come so naturally to me. So sometimes I feel like a big jerk and I envy folks who still hang out with people they met in preschool (like my husband and his friend Rob!)

3. I don't pay for things I don't find necessary. I am cheap, frugal, thrifty, whatever. So that means we don't have cable or satellite service, we put our garbage in our in-laws' can (with their permission!), I pack a lunch every day, we drink water when we go out to eat, and I use coupons and discounts like crazy. Even if I'm the crazy lady holding up the line while I haggle over my coupons or I look cheap in front of others - I'd rather not spend the money if I don't have to. Sometimes I feel judged for being cheap, though, and that bums me out.

4. I don't buy organic. I could try to live forever, and do every single thing possible to be the most healthiest person ever, but I don't have the time, energy, or motivation to do it all. I just don't care about pesticides in my food, and that doesn't make me a bad person. And if I ever have kids, I'm not going to feed them all-organic either, and that doesn't make me a bad person. I Miracle-Gro the fuck out of my garden and that's fine with me. And on a related note, I don't always eat for health and fitness. I like chocolate long john donuts and waffle fries. Mmm. I definitely don't do food perfectly.

5. I don't read as much non-fiction any more. I used to love reading books on history, geopolitics, feminism, sociology, current events - but now when I read, it's usually at the gym. I just want to check out from my hamster wheel, and that means fiction. I miss non-fiction, but it doesn't work for me now. Listening to public radio helps me feel sharp, though!

6. I don't do hair or fashion trends. I have a secret vision of myself in cool trendy looks like fishtail braids and fake eyelashes and earrings made with feathers and towering heels. I'm all Zooey Deschenal and stuff. But when I look up tutorials on Pinterest on how to do that stuff, it just doesn't seem worth the effort and im afraid of screwing it up. I have this other vision of perfectly coiffed young women tapping me on the shoulder and informing me that they know which pinterest tutorial i was trying to copy and i have failed miserably. So I blow dry my hair with the round brush and slap on mascara on a good day.

7. I don't do feelings perfectly. Even though I'm a counselor, and I know all the skills and tools and ideal ways to deal with stuff. I get derailed by my defenses and fears and pain. And sometimes I handle that with avoidance, shame, and self-rejection. I respect myself for doing that much, much less than I had in the past. And I try to practice what I preach. But sometimes, I hide out and ignore the phone and ignore my own woundedness.

That sounds like enough for today. What don't you do?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Kitties on the Compound!

We like to call our place a "compound"... Something to do with Brian's jealousy of some famous motocross rider?

Anyway, when we moved in, our place had a stray cat hanging around. She's completely feral and avoids any human contact. We feed her a little bit of cat food every few days in hopes that she will hang around to eat mice and other pests. I named her Zara and tried really hard to tame her, but she's not cooperating at all!

Even though she flees whenever she sees us, she will occasionally lay on our front stoop and hang out if we haven't fed her in a few days. Well, yesterday I was able to sneakily capture this photo of Zara (on the stoop) with her new friend! We are calling him Mussolini. It just seemed to stick, I don't know why!

Aren't they cute??