Holding on While Letting Go

Granny taught me things all my life.

How to do dishes, set a table, sew and host a guest. That you can eat popcorn for dinner, how to sing “Dirty Lil” and play solitaire. That you can have a temper and be unfailingly polite and that there is always room for chocolate.

In the end, as her days wound down, she was still teaching me how to hold on tight to all that matters while letting go.

Barbara Jean Connell

November 21, 1924 – December 15, 2021

A Black Heart

I live with cats.

Three cats.

But I wouldn’t call myself a cat person. I am firmly in camp dog. Why you ask?

This is why:

For those who cannot see or understand what they are looking at let me explain. This is a photo of a cat laying in a crate of potatoes. The potatoes are the last of the harvest I’ve just pulled in from the garden. The cat is laying directly on the cold lumpy potatoes and looks as uncomfortable as one would expect to be laying on cold lumpy potatoes. There is no reason for her to shed all over my fresh produce other than that cats are, essentially, jerks.

But, my cat loving husband says, your dogs would probably pee on them if given an opportunity. And I can’t disagree. My boys will pee on anything they deem necessary to claim as their own. And if it were at dog peeing level and they didn’t pee on the potatoes they would probably steal them and play with them like I had just provided them with the best toys ever. But the difference is they would be happy. Joyfully marking their territory, proudly showing me the new thing they “own” ecstatically asking me to join a game with their new “toys”. Oh, they would be in trouble but hidden beneath their rotten choices are hearts of gold.

Look at this cat. She’s not even happy to be laying on the potatoes. She, like all cats, does not have a heart of gold but something much more sinister and dark. Cats are known for covering the coziest, warmest spots around. There is no reason to lay on my cold, lumpy potatoes other than to prove that as a cat you can.

And that is why I am a dog person.

Silly Goose

Clara turned 12 years old today…

… and this prank loving trickster of a girl is still our favorite silly goose.

Clara wearing her new bag as a hat.

Happy birthday Clara!

Two Years

It’s been two years since we hit the cow.

Two years and I’m almost back to where I was before.

Two years and I have realized it’s okay that I will never be the same as I was before.

Two years and I can do almost anything I wish.

Two years and my morning routine now involves planning my day out in 30 minute chunks so that I can do all those anythings.

Two years and I can play capoeira and complete a crossfit workout.

Two years and occasionally I “take to my bed” for the day like a Victorian era woman of poor constitution.

Two years and I have given up Diet Coke and virtually given up drinking.

Two years and a whiskey and coke would be the tastiest celebratory drink…

Two years and I can drive the hour to visit my family.

Two years and I will need a driver to make the three hour drive to see my best friend’s new house but I’ll be able to look out the window the whole time.

Two years and I can function under fluorescent lighting.

Two years and a crowded room has me plotting strategic movements and staking out the perfect locations so that I can visit without becoming overwhelmed.

Two years and I have learned (mostly) how to prioritize and let things go.

Two years and my lawn hasn’t been mowed in months – but I hear bees love that.

Two years and I can spend hours reading on my kindle.

Two years and I’m grateful John drives at night when I’m so tired the road signs are incomprehensible as they fly by.

Two years and I’ve become one of those annoying people who wakes up at the same time everyday without an alarm.

Two years and I’ve “sleep trained” myself into a strict schedule of bed every night by 11.

Two years and I can spend chunks of time on the computer.

Two years and I still need the sign on the computer reminding me to “WEAR GLASSES!”

Two years and I can cook without starting anything on fire.

Two years and cooking dinner is an entire night’s activity.

It’s been two years and a moment since we hit the cow.

It’s been two years and a lifetime since we hit the cow.

Two years of successes.

Two years of struggles.

Today has been two years since we’ve hit the cow and it seems that the light at the end of this tunnel is getting brighter.


Yesterday my family gathered together on what would have been Grandpa’s birthday.

Sunset fishing on the pier. Picture by Ivy.

What a man, to have left behind a family who knows how to work or play all day together.

Everyone Mothers Differently

There are mothers who, for a variety of what I can assure you are very valid reasons, get by with what is required of them and nothing more.

And there are mothers who, for a variety of what I’m sure are very valid reasons (but that I have no personal experience with), always go above and beyond.

Happy Mother’s Day. No matter the style of your parenting or the size of your nest, I hope it was a great one!

Not A Hoarder

Have you ever noticed how nobody lets you say you stink at something anymore?

Is it midwest nice? Has the ugly and pervasive habit some people have of saying they are bad at something just to hear others tell them that they aren’t seeped into our souls so we think it’s expected of us? Have we swung to such a stupidly positive culture that we can’t admit our faults anymore?

For instance. I am a bad housekeeper. However if I say this I am immediately met with claims that my house is in fact nice, tidy and clean. Since I can count the times I’ve washed the floor in this house on both legs and don’t believe in dusting these claims are ridiculous, uneducated and clearly false. My housekeeping has maxed out on the level of “not a hoarder”. And I am for better or worse totally fine with that.

Neither am I one of those who will claim to be poor at something just so that I can be praised. I’m not a huge fan of telling people my faults. I’d rather run with the idea that I can do anything, but of course I can’t, or in terms of house cleaning, won’t. So if I humble myself to admitting that I’m terrible at something don’t try to talk me out of it. That’s terrible for my ego and John still has to live with me.

In an effort to once and for all say, “I am a terrible housekeeper” without trying to be talked out of it I give you Exhibit A:

This tenacious little plant grew in my sink strainer under a large pile of clean dishes. Yes, I was home the whole time. (No, John was not, which is certainly a factor in its appearance.) Yes, it does have a root that goes down just as far as it is stretching up for light and yes I did transplant it into my greenhouse next to the other tomatoes. And yes, I can tell you, after raising many tomatoes from seed, a tomato plant doesn’t grow that fast overnight!

Now, next time you hear me say I stink at cleaning the house you can sympathize, you can tell me about your own plants you accidently grew, you can tell me it doesn’t bother you but please, for the love of sprouting tomatoes, don’t try to argue that I have a clean house!