Blog Year in Review and Other Thoughts

Looking back, from the vantage point of December 30th at the blog year- lots of ice dying, tomatoes, and recipes. See here , here , and here .

Also graveyards and insects. here and here.

There was like, more going on though- like  battling multiple rounds of super lice, getting tired of Trump’s bullshit, volunteering for the county democratic party and the Beto O’Rourke campaign, working full time, and parenting a toddler, a 9 year old, and a 12 year old. Also loss and travel.  And somehow less cleaning than would be effective but seems like more than should be humanly possible. (I clean all the time. The house is still dirty. It’s my least favorite magic.)


Favorite picture from 2018

But 2018 was a tad light on the narrative posts, something I kinda intended to focus on when I started this whole thing… with this post really being my only one in 2018: This one right here.

At Lake Travis in the early years

Cheers, Baby

Some previous years favorite narrative posts are these: On Meditation and Lettuce , It’s really the easiest of choices, Sweetheart , Talking in My Sleep ,  Birth. A Stream of Conciousness Love Story ,  The Zen of Parenting.  Also this one, which is fiction actually, but I’ve always liked: Foray into Fiction: Goodbye

Are you allowed to say you have favorites of your own work and share them? Because I think you should be able too, but sometimes this kinda stuff escapes me. Like when someone comes by unexpectedly, like a neighbor, and I talk to them from the front door, and then come in after they leave and my husband tells me I should have invited them in… like… how do I not know this stuff? It’s a wonder I have friends at all. Also- something I learned THIS YEAR from another blog- if a mother at school pickup tells you their toddler talks about your toddler all the time- that is an invitation to set up a playdate and be friends. I HAD LITERALLY ZERO IDEA! Do you know how many friends I could have right now?! UGH. What did I do in those situations? Say thanks, that’s so cute, and then walk away going “Sheesh, so many kids talk about my kid- but she NEVER talks about any of them by name. Weird.” D’oh.

Some things I keep meaning to write about/ or that are stuck in the Drafts folder:

  • female travel safety tips (boils down to check your hotel window locks- do you know how many unlocked windows I’ve run across in hotel rooms? Seriously. Check those windows.) But that’s like… the only real tip, so it’s hard to round out to a whole post.
  • Place imprinting- some nebulous idea of what we all associate with “home”- but since we never did move to Denver (thank god.) and have never lived anywhere else it is only conjecture.
  • A blank blog draft that only has the title: Be yourself. Unless you’re an asshole then don’t be that. Not sure where I was going with that one, honestly, but I can guess.
  • Funny events from the past that I always think about while going to sleep or blow drying my hair, but then forget about. Okay- I WILL tell you the one below though because it just came to me!

So when I turned fifteen my mother told me to get a job. So I went to the Mill Stores (shopping center in town) and started at the book store on one end and applied all the way around to every store till I got to the furniture store on the other end. (I didn’t get the book store gig I really wanted because I forgot my social security number and made one up. Turns out that isn’t one of those things like a zip code that doesn’t really matter.)

Anyway, I alternated between saying: “Hi. do you have any job openings?” And “Hi, are you looking to hire anyone?” Like the shopkeeps would compare notes and judge me for saying the same thing every time and not hire me because of it. (The awkwardness.. it’s not new with me, dig?) Well, I got 3/4 of the way around and was kinda tired and hungry  by the time I went in the jewelry store to apply. To this day I can CLEARLY see the guy behind the counter’s face as I mixed up my two scripts and said; “Hi, are you looking for any openings?” To which he repeated, slowly, “Am I looking… for any… openings?” You know those moments where maybe you’re a part of some random person’s memory? I bet the guy still talks about or thinks about that occasionally, 25 years later. It was horrifying to all involved. I did not apply at the jewelry store and booked a REALLY hasty retreat.

I did actually get the job at the lingerie store though and so was not grounded. Few stories I may write about from that first job experience:

  • Being the only one to be willing to help fit the drag queens. They were always so nice, except the one guy who was just creepy and mentally ill. May I remind you a store FULL of 20, 30, and 40 year old women/ fellow employees left that one obviously disturbed dude to the 15 year old. The jerks, you know? Didn’t put me off drag queens though, as I wrote about here – a post with one of my favorite post title, actually.
  • Having to fit my grandmother for RACY ass lingerie. Cannot unsee.
  • Seeing one of the schools female coaches walk in with one of the pretty obviously lesbian high school senior girls, see me, and then walk right back out the door. That was… not okay, methinks.
  • And that my coworker set me up to look like the one stealing $20 a shift. I never told anyone I thought it was her. I pretended like I didn’t notice they were keeping me away from the registers. I never told my parents. And the assistant manager called me to bitch me out one time when she came up $20 short on the nightly count. I hadn’t even worked that day. I was in tears. I was 15. I girded up my courage and called the next day to speak to the store manager about the whole thing and the assistant manager answered. When I said who I wanted to talk too and why she apologized and said she’d just miscounted. I actually accepted that as an apology… and never spoke of it again because it took every shred of my courage to make that one call. I saw that assistant manager, years later, as a receptionist at my doctor’s office… I could tell by the way she looked at me she still thought I was a thief. I fantasized about saying something to her… something like “I never actually stole any money, you know. It was Tiffany.” But didn’t and said nothing. Sigh.

I hope to have some more posts with stuff like that in the new year. Projects wise I’d like to figure out some new craft for the 2019 craft fair, work to get my husband’s family private cemetery listed as a state recognized historic cemetery and MAYBE set up a cemetery board and serve on it. My DREAM is setting up a Dia de los Muertos event out there… nighttime, copal incense and candles everywhere, the whole cemetery cleaned up all at once, marigolds… it’d be awesome.


This place exists in the world… what a glorious planet

And maybe work on being a better, more patient parent. The middle child is having a rougher go of it than her sisters… I wonder is that just part and parcel to being a middle child? But she could use more attention… I’m resolved to do better about giving it to her in 2019. These children… you have to parent them all so differently. It isn’t like riding a bike, you know. It’s like riding a bike, then adding in plate spinning, and then adding sleight of hand card tricks when you have that unexpected third child. It’s developing a whole new skill, every time, and somehow not losing the momentum of the others. Ain’t for sissies, let me tell you.

As for me personally, that 10 pounds my endocrinologist told me to lose is now 25. The metabolism in the year before I turn 40 hasn’t been kind. I feel like I look alright in mirrors… but oh god the pictures! I look like Margaret Thatcher in pictures these days… not a fan. A lot of it is my hair that has also morphed into “mature hair” territory, but the weight is also a thing. (If the camera adds 10 pounds, how many cameras do I have on me?!) So as I wrote about here I’ll be doubling down on my health in 2019.

And, in important charitable work territory- I am still contributing monthly to the Desert Flower Foundation to end female genital mutilation in Western Africa, as I wrote about here . If you’d like to learn more or to contribute yourself the link is here: Desert Flower Foundation. It’s based out of Germany, so don’t be put off if the English seems iffy on the website- they’re amazing and I’m so thankful to be able to sponsor 3 girls for their schooling, medical care, and their protection from genital mutilation. The world changes one child at a time, don’t you know.

So anyway, thanks to all for reading in 2018 and for sticking it out for this long and link filled final post of the year. I’ll still be here, in my tiny corner of the internet, if you care to keep reading in 2019! Which just HAS to be a less “kick in the teeth” year than 2018… but that I’ll go ahead and knock on wood for all of us, just in case.

Hey LOOK… I figured it out


Hey Look! I figured it out!

Just a quick post to share that I DID figure out how to do a drop down menu on the menu bar of the home screen of the blog-so check out the new menu options to take you to gardening, parenting, and cooking posts- all in their own place! I also put a link to my narrative posts- some of my favorite more story-telly posts are there.

Thanks for reading!

Ice Dying… How did it go?


HOW DID IT GO? It Went Like This: *singing* “Some people you know they say they can’t believe, Jamaica we got a bobsled team!”

Ahem. Okay- so THE ICE DYING… how’d it all shake out? Y’all will remember since the summer I’ve been doing batch after batch of ice dying to have ready to sell at our neighborhood craft fair. I talked about it here and here and here and here and (my god I wrote a lot about this) here .

The craft fair was last weekend and it was, on the scarves, a ROUSING success.


The scarves… 4 to 6 in each color batch


I love that painting… it looks like I have a creativity thought bubble every time I brush my teeth. Here is what the pashminas look like on- this is the one I kept.

I ended up making just under $200 on the scarves, and they went like hotcakes, I think, in part because I priced them to move: $12ea or 2 for $20. I also modeled one all night long, but I’m less sure that contributed to the sales… I was in the pashmina above and shorts, after all. A look right out of the Vogue lookbook it ain’t. I actually have 4 more scarves on order to do another batch for Christmas gifts… because the ones I made for this event are ALL gone!

The girls also did a rousing sale in ornaments, and cleared $65 and $66 ea.

And it being a sip and shop (wine and craft fair) there was lots of tipsy trading at the end of the show amongst the adult vendors so we now have other ornaments and purses and hats… as well as a deer skull adorned with rhinestone brooches which is INSANITY but a small part of me loves. My folks took the toddler home, who was driving me to distraction trying to manage a show and a candied up toddler… and my husband was there to hang out. The older girls were good about managing the table and hanging out.

Fluff that Fraser Fir!

I spent one memorably cold winter at the garden center I worked at in college selling Christmas trees. And I remember EVERYONE wanted a Noble Fir- GOTTA have a noble even though they were THE most expensive. Why? Because they look great right off the truck.

My favorite are the Fraser Firs though. Silvery underside to the needles and way less expensive too. Much more fragrant than the Noble Firs as well, less needle drop, and way less apt to dry out. But people aren’t huge fans… and you want to know why? Because they look like this right off of the truck and out of the nets.



Here’s the secret I learned at that garden center though- you have to gently but firmly fluff Fraser Firs. And by fluff I mean push down on the branches until they are as close to perpendicular to the trunk as they’ll go… only takes about 10-15 minutes.


See what I mean?

It makes SUCH a difference!


Fraser Firs… Hella good trees

Happy decorating to all and give those Fraser Firs a chance!