A Learned Woman

I have a four year degree, in theory it was awarded for my studies in biology.

It’s actuality I think it’s a degree in procrastination and late night cramming.

It worked then and it’s a skill I haven’t forgotten.

 

The current state of my table. Piling everything in one place counts as organization and preparation right?

This weekend I’m doing my first library program and with just one more night of cramming I should be prepared.

All I need is a beer and a package of ramen and I’ll feel 22 again.

Montana Sunrise

I was able to run away from home for a week of bird hunting in Montana this October.

And after the last few grey mornings here I’m longing for one of these still frosty Montana mornings.

Which sounds odd because I’m not at all a morning person. But I have found thatI’m much less grumpy if I get to spend sunrise in a field with my dogs rather than in the kitchen with my kids.

What can I say?

The dogs are always happy to be up and running and they never, ever, complain about their breakfast.

Leave the Leaves!

One of my favorite things about the internet is that you can always find someone to back your crazy ideas.

For instance I hate shoes and due to the miracles of the the internet I have now been connected to people who not only also hate traditional footwear but have kindly provided me with obnoxious facts to share with anyone who asks about why I hate shoes.

The internet is truly an amazing place.

With fall upon us I turn to the internet again on the issue of lawn maintenance, specifically raking leaves. It’s no secret that I hate mowing the lawn. But I also really, really hate raking leaves. I suspect this hatred stems from hours of child labor while we attempted to clear every leaf from my parents lawn that’s approximately 789 acres of grass covered in 9,450 trees. And probably you don’t know about this deep seated hatred of mine because while I’ve been compelled to mow the lawn over the years so that I don’t lose small children and chickens in it (though there was that dead cat once…) my leaf raking habits are even more lax.

My leaf raking goes like this…

I should rake the leaves… nah, too wet.

I should rake the leaves…. oops, I broke the rake.

I should rake the leaves… but it’s bad for the tendinitis in my shoulder.

I should rake the leaves… Oh look! Bird hunting season!

I should rake the leaves… but I haven’t mopped the floor in the last two years and I really better do that first.

I should rake the leaves… Whups! It snowed! Too late now!

But, I have good news fellow yard care haters, the butterflies and bees need those leaves!

And they need them whole, not shredded.

And they’d prefer them to stay in a nice carpet over garden and lawn well into the spring.

Basically this is the best news ever.

I love the internet.

Go ahead, read this article, from the Xerces Society and then instead of raking leaves you can join me in relaxing with a warm cup of tea and a good book (because who are we kidding, that floor isn’t getting mopped unless I’m avoiding raking leaves).

https://xerces.org/2017/10/06/leave-the-leaves/

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Red

My favorite color is red.

For a long time I was quite convinced that it was blue, or maybe green and after years of throwing one or the other after that question I stopped looked around, and actually thought about it.

My sunglasses- are red,

my favorite jacket – is red,

my favorite shirt – is red,

my favorite color of pickup truck – is red,

my favorite sweatshirt- is red,

my camera – is red and

when I dyed my hair for the first time in my life – I dyed it red.

Sorry blue and green, you are nice and pretty and calm, but you just don’t have that bright joy that red does.

When I took that time to stop and think about it, I also flashed to a long ago memory. I was walking up a steep hill at my parents’ house (all the hills there are steep) and someone asked me my favorite color. I can’t remember who I was with but I do remember thinking that my favorite color had always been red but that was sort of, well, a “boy” color and that I should choose blue or green (because even trying to fit in I’d never choose pink or purple). So, in my continual efforts to not ever have anyone look at me twice so I didn’t die of a serious case of shyness (before you feel outraged on behalf of my favorite color choices please know that I probably would have actually died of shyness at this point in life if people… you know… talked to me too much) I answered blue, or maybe it was green, and continued to do so for the next… oh I don’t know… 30 years. 

But I’m done with that. Blue and green are nice but I’m not as shy as I once was.

My favorite color is red.

And if you really think about it..

What’s your favorite color?

Satisfaction

The sight of a freshly alphabetized bookshelf brings with it a deep satisfaction.

I may have a pigeon living in the house, a sink full of dirty dishes, a desk piled high with things to do and the specter of the first Monday after a time change looming over me.

But my bookshelf is organized.

So I can’t have lost my grip completely yet.

Right?

(Pssst. The only correct answer here is “Right!”)

How about you, what random act brings immense satisfaction to your life? 

The Dark Side of the Bright Side

I went to a book festival this weekend.

As an author. (Insert wide eyed, panicked emoji of choice here.)

I know, I know, I’ve had a book published for a few months now but I still had a hard time stopping myself from saying I was headed out to “pretend to be a real author.” (Don’t worry, all my friends and family have firmly scolded me for that phrase – you don’t need to too.)

Anyways, I went to a book festival as an author for the first time this weekend. I met some really interesting people. I met some really kind people. I listened to some excellent authors talk about bookish things.

It was in general pretty fabulous.

It was also exhausting.

I am not known for my small talk/meeting new people skills. I can do it but it takes a lot of courage. And book marketing… let’s not even dive in to the uncomfortableness that is hawking your book, your baby, that you worked for years on, to complete strangers who ask you questions like “Oh? Did you write this?” Its hard in a weird emotional way. But for every odd comment, “oh… how… whimsical…” there was a wonderful one. “So this is really an art book!!!” And those that passed by without interest were balanced out by those who took them time to talk.

At the last presentation I attended a man used the phrase “The dark side of the bright side.” It wasn’t used in relation to book marketing. But I’m adopting it for that purpose. There is so much wonderfulness surrounding “What if Butterflies Loved Snow?” right now. It’s in stores- like real life, actual, walk down your street and open the door stores- that’s amazing! People are asking me to do library programs and school visits- that’s terrifying and also super duper awesome. My story is getting into the hands of children just like I one day hoped and that still gives me chills. But the work to get it there- the cold calling on stores, the preparing for library programs, the follow up calls and pushing my product at people who haven’t even asked about it. That’s the dark side of the bright side.

Oh but that bright side is shiny, and the dark isn’t so dark the more I do it.  So if you need a guest post on your blog, want to interview me about my book, have a store I should contact, an idea I should track down, let me know.

I’m working through the dark side and when it gets to be too much, I remember, that even at it’s darkest, I’m still on the bright side.

One Day You Are Riding High…

Ever have those moments that are just so – so adult, that it’s depressing?

Not long after we were married John and I bought a tractor. It was a nice little tractor and it did all sorts of things for us until one day when I was driving it and it said “CA- CHUNK” loudly and forcefully.

A time of tractor parts and grand plans followed the “ca-chunk” but, unfortunately, the end result was me in the driveway watching the pieces of my tractor getting smaller as they rode away on a flatbed truck.

Sadder than any woman really should be about a broken pile of metal I looked down at the small collection of crisp hundred dollar bills in my hand for consolation. I was momentarily cheered, until I remembered the broken dishwasher.

One day you are riding high on a tractor.

The next you are researching water efficient dishwashers.

Adulting is the worst.

 

It’s November! Time for a month of blog posting and team tiny peppers!

It’s also the month where daily posting means John does much less of my proofreading and you find out just how poor my spelling and grammar really are… …forgive me.  

In My Element?

Perhaps you’ve noticed things haven’t been what one would call… easy, around here lately.

In addition this non-easy month has been filled with things that, thankfully, I don’t have much experience with. This of course makes them harder to handle and it feels as though all my answers now start with “I don’t know…”.

Today is the last day of a month of blogging (Applause welcome. Thank you!) and of all the things that happened this month, of all the stressors in life, blogging daily wasn’t one of them. I relished the time that I “had” to sit down and post something. I can do this. I am not the best blogger in the world, but I’m good at this. I know what I’m willing to share, and what I’m not. My writing is often missing punctuation and my pictures aren’t perfect but I’m proud to be able to share both anyway. Decisions in my blogging world have been easy. I know blogging.

Today, on this last day of daily blogging, Jane came home sick.

Super puking sick.

I went from a day of catching up on life and trying to make difficult decisions about things I’d never done, or am just learning to do, into sick kid mode. We have barf buckets, hair has been pulled into ponytails. There are extra blankets and water to sip. I’ve been running up and down the stairs emptying her bucket, tucking in her blankets and giving her water. And you know what? This might be the most relaxed afternoon I’ve had all month. I can do this. I’m not the best at mothering sick kids, but I’m good at this. I know what to do. I’m not debating if what I’m doing is the most important thing. I’m not wondering if I should be focusing my attention elsewhere. I’m doing what I need to, and I’m doing it well. Sick kids, though I never thought I’d say it, are easy.

It seems like I should now jump to the conclusion that this makes me the epitome of a mommy blogger (a phrase I have always avoided like the super puking plague). But, despite the fact that I’m relaxed and in my element while blogging and puker wrangling, that’s not it at all. Looking back at the month I am reminded that there are lots of things I’m learning. There are lots of things that are hard. And lots of things that have no good choices. I’ve spent the last month crying a boat load of tears and there was a good portion of them that were because I felt as if I didn’t know anything, that I had none of the answers.

But that’s not true, I’ve just been out of my element.  I know all sorts of things. I have lots of answers.  It’s just that this November things were really hard. When forced back into my element with a sick kid and blank computer screen I had a chance to remember… oh yes I can do these things, and a slew of others, well.

I just wish it hadn’t taken a dozen buckets of barf to remind me!

(And maybe I’m a mommy blogger too, but I’m still not ever going to own up to that.)