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The Truth of the Matter

A longtime – like 30 years longtime – girlfriend of mine noted that she hadn’t seen a recent post from me. I was so elated that she actually read my posts and more so that she looked for them. She began naming all the reasons why I hadn’t and was indeed spot on. I told her that she should submit a post here and she smiled…hmm we shall see.

It has been a week since that conversation. And not a single post was posted in that time. Why, you ask? Why indeed. There are plenty of topics on which I have an opinion and tons of goings on. I could have updated you about the ‘wee one’ getting bronchitis or how I have had bronchitis and am still coughing. Or that we had 6 more inches of snow this week and yesterday was the first day of spring. I could have given you my outlandish completely baseless theories regarding the missing flight 370 and how I really want the plane to have been plane-napped so that the people on board have a better chance at survival. I could have told you all about my little plants, or the wood purchases for a garden box or about the challenge that is my hair. About how my heart broke or how it heals.

But I realized something. That more than anything, I was afraid. Scared that no one would want to read what I have written. That you would careless about my ideas or opinions or random statements delved in my own idiosyncrasies. This outlet, this social connection, this information station could simply be a nothing. A non-starter. A failure. I am afraid to fail. WOW!!! I hadn’t realized it now.

I learned that I am afraid to die. I wasn’t always. Before my 27th year, I would have been pleased to meet my maker. I adore Him and had no regrets. Then a gave birth to a perfect being and fell so much in love that I became afraid. Scared to miss something, scared to not see him as a young man, frightened to not meet his children. I feared not being able to balance nurture with the nature, not being able to teach him all he should know and instill in him love of God, family and country. Oh there were so many fears associated with being forced away from that boy too soon. But mostly, a fear that I would fail him.

I feared failing you. Not entertaining you to the best of my ability. Not educating or learning or creating or inspiring you enough. Not being enough, for you, the reader.

I am getting over it. I am enough. I am alive. I am growing.

My legs were gone, only bloody rags remained of my pants

Ebony:

Sometimes I have to look away from what my blog is supposed to be about and re-blog something that means so much more. I read the below blog and only wanted to share the story with you. I come from a big military family. We have been blessed. I have been sheltered. Reading this testimony made real for me (if only for a moment) what our military contends with. Read on and keep the faith.

Originally posted on Life after legs:

The sand filled my eyes, my pants, hell even my mouth. As I opened my eyes everything was replaced by a cloud of sand. A tan nothingness. My spirit had left my body, and an empty self-awareness remained. Within this moment, I realized I was flying through the air. Although it lasted only seconds, it seemed to be forever. As my brain processed the physical stimuli into an equation; I knew it could yield only one conclusion. I had stepped on an I.E.D.

We had just been talking about how Greer loved to find IED’s. I told him he sucked at his job.

“You engine-queers try too hard to be EOD techs”, I said.

“We find them just as good as you guys do”, he replied instantly.

This was how we communicated. Marines; especially when faced with a dangerous mission, can be like affectionate assholes. We spoke harshly to each…

View original 1,829 more words

Snowplow runs off the road

In Case of Emergency – Dig

We are expecting 3-12 inches of snow. If I seem to disappear for a while, send the dogs to find me and dig. I’ll be under the snow.

I reside in the Mid-Atlantic where the shoreline and mountains are the outliers to cities and suburbs. My neck of the woods gets snow each winter and I can say with all truthfulness that 3″ is about it or any one snow occurrence. All of our weather (except August heat waves) can be considered moderate. Not too much, not too little. Enough snow to be a pain in the tuckus. Enough rain to moisten your basement. Enough wind to blow the siding off. But rarely enough to make you stock up on supplies and prepare for days of ‘going it on your own’.

Still, the effect of climate change is glaring. Yes, I said it. Climate Change! I don’t care whether or not climate change is a natural phenom or a man-made disaster. That simply isn’t the point here. The point is that the Mid-Atlantic climate has changed for the worse. The school where I work has already cancelled all classes after 5 pm today. It is only 3 o’clock and there is not a single snow flake on the ground. The snow won’t even start until after 8  tonight. Everyone is a little nervous. We are all used to the forecast of a lot and getting a little. But here lately, we get a lot.

Ohio derecho damage

Ohio derecho damage

Two years ago, we had a derecho. I had never even heard of such a thing. We get hurricanes all the time, but by the time we see them, they are full of rain and bluster but the bite is much weakened. Not the derecho. I can’t even explain to you the destruction I witnessed. Huge trees on the ground. No, they didn’t fall over. They looked as if someone had grabbed them and twisted them in half. For miles and miles and miles the damage was, simply put, everywhere. We lost power for 4 days.  Some folks  were without power for 10 days. The derecho was part of a heat wave. No AC, food rotted, no ice, trees everywhere. We traveled to a different county to find a restaurant with power. We stayed in hotel after the first three sleepless nights of heat. Bad weather is an understatement.

In 2010, we had a blizzard of epic proportions. So much of the nation was effected by the snow that we named it Snowmaggedon. We had about 36″ of snow. 36 inches of snow!! Not our wonderful 3 and forget it. My family – ALL OF THEM (I am talking Momma and cousins and such) came to rescue me. They walked from the main street for about 1/2 a mile in 36″ of snow to save me. I had already dug myself out so we drank tea instead :). Ok The Marine helped.

Snowmaggedon from space.

Snowmaggedon from space.

By the way, NOAA reports that 2009-10 was the highest snowfall for my area in recorded history. 77 freakin’ inches, 50 of which fell in one month. Just this past December, according to Weather.com we set a record for warmest calendar-day lows ever observed with a low of 62 degrees in December. Climate change.

So, the typical run on toilet paper and milk is actually warranted this time round. With highly unpredictable weather and electric service that takes a lickin’ but can’t keep tickin’, we are quite likely to find ourselves in a pickle. Although I still feel about 5″ is our max, we could just as easily get 12″ of snow. The kids will be out of school, again. I say again because this winter has been fraught with snow days.

The plan:

  • Stock up on supplies.
  • Stay safely off of the roads until the snow has stopped.
  • Eat lots of warming foods.
  • Play.
  • Watch tons of movies.
  • Charge every device we have (in case of emergency).
  • Identify some actual books with paper (in case of emergency).
  • Make hot chocolate.
  • Shovel lots of snow.
  • Play.
  • Make sure everyone has layers to wear and plenty of blankets in the event the power goes out.
  • Find a hotel (in case of emergency).
  • Bake cookies.
  • Start seedlings.
  • Play, eat and be merry.

Stay safe my lovelies.

(Featured image from WSB-TV Georgia)

What are your snow plans this winter?

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Ikea Hacks or not

I didn’t know there was such a thing not to mention, I didn’t know there was a cult-like following. Ikea Hacks. Wow. All the really cool things you can do with Ikea stuff. I love Ikea stuff. I don’t have much because everyone knows it is Ikea stuff and because their sofas are just too dang low to the ground to be of any real use to my family. Not that we are all tall, but my parents are tall. And I can’t bear the thought of them having to sit on the ground so low to the ground. Random, I know.

I want to be an Ikea Hacker. I can’t for the life of me think of what to hack or even a good reason to hack it. But I wanna be a hacker. I tried. I went to Ikea yesterday looking for something to change into something else. I found a little greenhouse. I need a little green house that is cute for my seedlings so that ‘The Marine’ won’t complain as they take over all kitchen space near the windows. I could use like four of these cute little guys. Did I mention that they are a cool $20 each and that I am cheap frugal?

That isn’t hacking, it is buying. Booo. I am not a hacker. Check out this awesomely cool hack and this one is my fave. Did you notice that they use the same shelving system. How freaking awesome is that? No really, how awesome is that? SUPER AWESOME! Oh, sorry, I got a bit excited.

I think I will have to stick to growing vegetables… at least until spring break. Muahahahaha. Then I am looking at a new foyer bench with cubbies!!! Ikea hacking away!
ikea hack bench
Til later lovelies.

#CoiledGlory #ikeahacks

UPDATE: I bought the last greenhouse that Ikea had in stock. It was the display and a little over-handled. As-Is = discount!!! 50% off made my inner frugalista very happy. No I only need three more.

Have you ever hacked and Ikea find? Or anything else for that matter?

sweets

We Love Sweets

I am a self purported urban farmer. Ok, yes. That would be delusions of grandeur. Is it grandeur to consider ones self a farmer? Does ‘ones’ in ones self require an apostrophe to be possessive? Does the English language require one to possess ones self? Rewind. I am a gardener and by that I mean that each year I plant seeds and plants into the ground, somewhat forget about them when it is mosquito season and then pray that they will actually produce fruits or vegetables before they freeze to death.

My garden has sprawled to almost the front yard. Mostly because I have a lot of shade and dappled sunlight in what is considered a more appropriate veggie area, the backyard. I am perfectly fine with the concept of gardening in the front yard but “The Marine” on the other hand. Well suffice it to say that he complains and scowls at the current growing arrangements because they are not neat, tidy, and similarly arranged. You know, like barracks or boots lined up against a wall. No, the mishegas that takes place in my garden beds cannot be contained by military regime nor will said regime allow such a disarray in the front yard. I digress.

I love spinach. But more than spinach, we as a family love sweet potatoes. I grow sweet potatoes. The free way, which entails getting a tuber making letting it sprout. Throwing the slips out into the dirt. Harvesting sweets hopefully before the first frost (if I can remember). I love growing sweet potatoes. They are by far the easiest and most interesting thing to grow and subsequently make into pie. I don’t have any fancy ‘sweet duds’ (you know, a fancy place to grow sweets). I use a deep, plastic, under-bed storage box. Got it from Big Lots for dirt cheap, drilled some holes in the bottom, added some Mel’s Mix and voila. Taters. It works really well.

I have long envisioned a larger place for tater growing. Basic ground dirt is just not gonna happen. To tough to dig. I need light weight soil for ease of harvest. I really want a fancy new raised garden but that is mostly a conversation non-starter. But I do have to get something as my trusty box didn’t survive this winter and well, winter isn’t even over yet. So here I am, scheming and conniving to get a new growing area. I think I will build it. I can build it. Don’t look at the screen that way, I really can. I have built other boxes and they have survived for years… about 5 in fact.  Just gotta convince “The Marine” that this is really needed and will be neat and tidy. HA!

Til later lovelies.

Is your green thumb-sense tingling?

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Marley Twists – The Saga

So it has been a bit more than a week since I installed Marley Twists. These Damn Marley Twist (TDMT) from here on out. I have had a few more twists slip out. Insert booing here.  Now this is undoubtedly human error, added to a style that doesn’t ‘hold tight’ to begin with. Twists are in general, easy on the hair whereas braids, are a bit more taxing to the hair.

My inexperience in twist installation not only didn’t allow me to utilize the invisible install method found here and here. Most of the first six twists slipped out before I had moved to the seventh twist. Re-do. I switched from invisible root to braid start for a better hold. Taking that into consideration, I still have slippage. Mostly in the back where the hair is short and around the edges. The hair at the nape is about 1 1/2 inches long. The rest of the twists have slipped some too. These areas are fragile and I didn’t want super tight extensions breaking them off.

I primarily wear my hair in a basket braid (very wide flat braid) up the back into a top knot. Yes, I made that name up, but i think it fits. I take what would be the bang area and swoop it over, wrap it around the top knot and tuck it. Sounds way more complicated than it is, but I get lots of compliments. One lady asked if I was a hairstylist. My answer, “NO! Those folks have way more hair creativity and standing stamina then I could ever muster.” I simply copied a hair style that I found on Donedo’s YouTube channel.

I only utilize the back braid as all that front is too much in my face on the daily basis. I like it and might try it next time I go out :).
Today I am rocking the low side knot. Quick easy and straight forward. Why, you may be asking, do I not wear the twist out long? Well, there are a few good reasons. First, hair on my neck irritates me. Even my own hair when I had it permed would touch my neck and drive me bonkers. Especially when it was wet. This Kanekalon hair is a bit scratchy. I don’t like scratchy. Second, I didn’t install twists for length. I could care less about having long fake hair.  I do like how the length makes updos really, I mean extremely easy. At most, I use one lonely hair pin to keep it up!!! Booyah!!!

Keeping it Moist

Get your mind out the gutter. Now your mind is really in the gutter. My natural hair still needs daily moisture. So, I gots a routine! Before bed and sometimes in the morning too, I:

  1. spritz hair up to where I think my natural hair ends, with Restore By Jane Carter,
  2. immediately follow with Shea Moisture’s Reconstructive Elixir (it spray a fine yet strong mist that offers better oil disbursement); massage in,


3. tie with satin scarf, and
4. continue on with my life!

Til later lovelies.

Tell me, how are you rocking your hair this uber cold winter?

A Dad’s Perspective on Nursing (and Nursing in Public)

Ebony:

I was so impressed with the insight of this blog post that I am re-blogging it!! Add to that that it was a man who posted it and not a breastfeeding mama brings it home for me. I know how I feel. I breastfeed. but I truly value the insight found here from someone indirectly familiar with the direct and indirect repercussions of feeding ones child.

I recently met a woman who was nursing her 32 month old daughter. I, at the time was new to nursing and my first reaction was “what in the world would possess you to do that”. The thought of all those teeth and a walking, talking person hanging from a breast was more than my narrow mind had bothered to think. I admit it. I had jokes about breastfeeding in college. What… it was funny. Don’t judge me. And there it is right there. Don’t judge me. For feeding my child. For doing it the way God intended. for Giving my child the best nutritional, emotional and physical start to this life that I can manage to give. For sacrificing time out with friends, personal space, and perky breasts. Don’t judge me. This woman’s child has more than nutrition. Before having this child, I could not have imagined breastfeeding without a cover in public. Yeah, well I can now more than imagine it. I have never been offended by a woman’s breast but I have been taken-aback. I don’t come from a breastfeeding family. Now my family knows that if they visit I will feed my hungry child. They are welcomed to leave, sit in another room, go for a walk or ignore it. Whatever. If I am still able to breastfeed after 12 months and the ‘Wee One’ is still interested then… Don’t Judge Me. The baby is hungry.

Originally posted on The Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies:

by Jay Parr

A quiet moment in the country.

That special bond between a mother and her child.

I was about twelve, riding the DC Metrobus home from school, when a woman started complaining loudly about another woman breastfeeding her baby on the bus. I didn’t see anything, so I don’t know if the nursing mother was covered up or not, but that’s irrelevant here. The complaining woman made her way up to the driver, a taciturn and tough-looking man who looked like he would as soon cut your throat as say hello (I remember him because he drove that route often). He focused on the afternoon traffic as the woman complained, until he came to a light and she demanded, “Well? Aren’t you going to do something?”

The driver looked out at the cross traffic for a moment, absently drumming his fingers on the fare box, then turned to the woman and shrugged.

“Baby’s hungry.”

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To Twist or Not to Twist pt. 2

wpid-PhotoGrid_1390838732344.jpgSo to catch up since the last post, I decided to add Marley Twists to my hair in a completely ill-prepared, unplanned, not-thought-out kind of a way. Also known as last minute. Eh. So how did it go you ask? Quite well if I do say so myself.

I actually started the twists around 3:20 pm. By the time I had completed the first 6, I had also learned my first lesson. The invisible method demonstrated by Breanna Rutter here and Donedo here is way WAY more difficult to keep in than it seems. They promptly slipped out. Second lesson learned, patience grasshopper. So I managed to switch techniques and install 2 1/2 packs of hair with out significant problems. I took lots of breaks to nurse, eat, walk around, watch movies, really I took breaks because twisting this much hair is just boring. at 10:59 pm I was dipping the rolled ends into hot water to curl them. That was that. By Tuesday another twist slipped out. But I just put it right back in. End of story.

Yes, I like them. The first two days, I wore them up in a top know. I quickly realized that single digit weather and no hat is disastrous so today, they are in a low ponytail as to accommodate a hat.

Are they heavy? Yes. I have added a significant amount of new materiel to the top of my head so yep, it is heavy. For me that is kinda like asking did getting earring hurt. Yes they did, sharp metal pushed through one’s anatomy tend to bring pain. However, It is not unreasonable. I don’t find that i must try to balance my head to keep it from lolling to one side.

How much did this endeavor cost? The hair cost a whooping $7 a bag. I only  used 2.5 bags.  So for me, self-installing is totally worth the savings.

How long will I leave them in? No more than 4 weeks as I run the risk of starting locs at that time and that isn’t the path I am walking.

So here is the skinny:

Type of hair used:wpid-20140202_173658.jpgSensationnel Synthetic hair Braids Braid Now Reggae Braid (MARLEY BRAID) (1B)

Type of roller used:

How I installed them:

  1. I separated a row and clipped all other hair out of the way.
  2. I separated a section to be twisted and slipped the rest of the row out of the way.
  3. Added moisturizer to the section and then covered that with coconut oil.
  4. Followed by a castor oil mix to seal it all being sure to cover the ends well.
  5. Next, was a bit of EcoStyler Olive Oil Gel ( I don’t know that you really need this one but I used it).
  6. I then took a pre-separated section of Marley hair and fluffed it. By fluffing, I mean I gently pulled it apart from one end to the other. Not completely apart, just enough to make it fluffier.
  7. I found the center of said hair
  8. wrap it around my hair section (creating three pieces)
  9. and began to braid. I stopped after my hair ended up in the center braiding section twice.
  10. While my hair was in the center, I split it in two, combined each split section with the Marley sections and began to twist.
  11. Once my entire head was completed, I used cold wave rollers on the ends and dipped them into boiling hot water. Please remove water from the hot stove prior to dipping. It is best to put the water in a bowl on a solid, flat surface.
  12. Let dry and style!

To Twist or Not to Twist

So I have been getting frustrated with the whole long term transitioning thing. I got the last relaxer touch-up back at the end of June 2013. The mess I call hair, requires weekly ‘doing’. Doing equals manipulation. Manipulation equals breakage. Natural hair that meets up with relaxed hair equals breakage. The prescription shampoo I use for itchiness is very drying. Drying equals breakage. That means I must consistently adhere to a routine of protein (about every 4 weeks) and deep moisturizing conditioner (weekly).

Let me clarify. All the pre-poo, sealing, conditioning, drying shampoo, protein-ing, deep conditioning and then finally styling takes up the majority of one of my two days off. The other day is a day of child wrangling. Yes, I do a lot too my hair even before I shampoo. Suffice it to say. I can’t just be still on my day off. I mean, as still as a Mommy of four (one of whom is a mere 9 months) can be.

I am always full of ideas. Not all will come to fruition. Not all are steeped in reality. Not all make sense for the situation at hand. But there is this one idea. Marley Twists. I have YouTubed it from every angle. Read every blog I could find about them. I have spoken to a hair professional. I believe I can do them… myself. She didn’t agree. She highly encouraged I visit a braiding professional. I explained that my frugal nature would not let me spend ooh-gobs for hair and then pays someone uber-gobs to twist them. Did I mention that two of my kiddos are teenagers? Teenagers pack away food like the will run out of it.

So, I now have more Marley hair than the law should allow. Did I mention that even with all that researching, I didn’t plan on actually doing them. It is 2:16 pm and I have shampooed. It was time for a protein treatment, so hear I sit with ApHogee hardening in my hair. Still must deep condition and dry. And then I can get started. Installing them could easily take 8 hours. Eh. Pray for me.

Why, you ask, am I experimenting with Marleys? First, I need a break. Marley Twists will allow me to shampoo and moisturize my hair without having to manipulate it. I won’t have to do more than pin it up, cover it up or let it down for four weeks. Second, it is by far one of the coldest winters we have seen in my neck of the woods in quite a while. My hair need some protection and Marleys qualify as just that. Third, I have convinced myself and ‘The Marine’ (who would prefer that anything other than hair I grow out of my head be left alone) that the only alternative is to chop it off. This path is less drastic. Fourth, if I really don’t like it, I can just take it out. Fifth, the hair is washable and reusable. This is reassuring. Although in truth, I have way more packs of hair than I will need this year.

Til later lovelies.

Have you tried Marley Twists or any other extended protective style?

How did you like it?

The Need to Grow

sprout Last year this time I was on bed rest. In fact, last February, I was on bed rest in the hospital. Eh. Outside of keeping my legs crossed to hold the babe in, I felt a powerful urge. No, not to push. To grow. Yes, I was growing wider with child. Yes, I was growing a little human being, which by the way is a lot of work. But an even greater urge took root within me, to grow something and then eat it. I even wrote about it.

I don’t like bugs. The Man and The Girl pick with me about my sheer disdain for creepy crawlies. I don’t like dirt. I don’t like to water things. I don’t talk to plants. I don’t even like eating most vegetables.

But I love, absolutely & positively love to grow vegetables. I love going out to the yard and bringing in my produce. I love knowing what is on it, what it was grown in and how it was grown. I love that my garden is completely PC, green, sustainable, helper bug friendly, child accessible, chemical free, (insert buzz word here ) and delicious. I really love that it positively impacts my pocketbook. I love bringing the sweet potatoes in and using them for dinner. The excitement from the kiddos about what our crop looks like. I love that my kids can go out an pick a salad or strawberries whenever they want rinse and eat it. I love that they get excited about eating vegetables!

I have learned what it means to have the faith of a mustard seed or any seed for that matter. That you must believe & trust God even when you don’t know when the rain will fall or if the sun will shine or if that plague of bugs will pass you by. I have learned that nature will always find a way.  Last year I didn’t plant a single tomato since the year before my heirlooms didn’t do so well. I also didn’t plant any Marigolds since they did exceptionally well. Last year, I gave away more than a hundred heirloom tomato plants and about 50 Marigolds. Nature comes in abundance. I grew one watermelon and on green pepper and both rotted on the vine. Life requires patience and vigilance. A bit of know how is always helpful too. If you don’t feed it, it won’t grow. That applies to beans and brains alike.

I am a gardesweetsner. My family members call me a farmer. I am very urban. I must grow. It humbles me. It brings me closer to God. It reassures my faith. It feeds me.

It is that time of year again. Time to plant something. I always promise not to go overboard but that never happens. So, I have assembled the list of veggies I want and am gathering indoor supplies. Yes, I know it is a bit early. I don’t care. I must grow.

 Til later Lovelies.

Are you growing something this year? When will you start?