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.

Advertisements

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?

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?

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?