the things that are okay. good, even.

The last several weeks have brought many challenging and painful moments, from the usual blah blah financial hardships blah blah to the extremes of loss and all the dark and deep contemplation that accompanies death and moving on. I’m tired. But, I am alive, and I am healthy, as are those who are closest to my heart. I am simply exhausted of the many reminders this year that every moment we find ourselves to be alive and healthy is a moment to be celebrated and treasured. I know this, but it’s easy to forget amongst the daily grind, and the forgetting is often met, eventually, with a hard slap to the heart. So, you know, time to (wo)man up and just fucking celebrate or, at the very least, acknowledge. Here are some good things immediately in front of me:

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  • There’s enough garlic hanging from my porch rafters to get us through until next year’s harvest.
  • Onion greens are soft and silky and so much less a beast to braid than hardneck garlic. Our onions may be small, but we weren’t able to grow them at all last year, so it’s a step forward.

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  • I’m attempting a fall crop of shelling peas. I have no idea if it will work, as it depends on when Jack Frost brings the icy hammer down, but just getting them in the ground felt pretty good. I have faith that the odds are in my favor.
  • The boy is suddenly reading. And, I mean really reading. The kind of reading where we have to ask him about fifty times to please put the book down and come to the dinner table. That kind. I find it hard to be exasperated because I think it’s awesome.

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  • This was supposed to be a garden post, hence a photo of my weed-ridden cabbage patch. The good thing here is that I’m not beating myself up for not keeping a pristine garden with our busy schedules. At least I can see the cabbage plants.
  • I actually wanted to spin this week, after not touching my wheel for months. I haven’t sat down to it yet, but the feeling was there, which is a damn good thing seeing as how I’m teaching at Fiber College next month and was feeling less-than-inspired to create samples and a new template for my class. I’m getting excited about it again. Phew.

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  • Some of my basil looks like this, but some of it doesn’t. I feel okay about this for at least two reasons. I already made a ton of garlic scape pesto, so whatever I manage with the basil is a bonus. And secondly, tomatoes aren’t near ready yet.
  • I think it may be possible to woo our baby girl goat with raisins.

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  • C is taking down a barn in a neighboring town and bringing it to our place. I want to paint it the color of these cherry tomatoes.
  • We thought we lost one of our ducks, but then discovered she was nesting under our bedroom window. No super-sleuthing skills required. She made her whereabouts known by demanding to be fed at 5:30am with loud outbursts of quacking. Under our bedroom window. This will continue for the next four weeks, if she’s lucky enough to survive outside the coop for that long. Odds are sketchy around here, but we deserve a lucky break. DUCKLINGS ARE GOOD THINGS.

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  • I have managed to grow two healthy axolotls from eggs. They make me smile every day and will require their own post at some point.
  • I’m hosting a batt sale, and also a giveaway on my Facebook page, so stay tuned for a chance to win a fiber prize.

And now, I’m tired. So, good night Ezra, Molly, and Michael. You touched my heart, and I’ll hold you there. May peace come to all those who feel the pain of your passing, and may all of us left behind celebrate daily the good things in our life.

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And good night to Granola, a sweet little lass we were hoping to have here on our wee farm for a long time.

  • One more very good thing of note: our neighbors. Such a blessing to live where we do. When my fingers wouldn’t work to untangle her little body from the fence netting, where she’d wrapped herself too fatally tight in a panic, helping hands came to take care of the unpleasant business. And yet more helping hands came to bandage another of our goats who was wounded during whatever goat-crazy happened while I was away from home. We take care of each other here, and that is a very good thing, indeed.

What are you grateful for today?

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nablo…what? gratitude and, a giveaway

hi hi hi

I didn’t make my goal of posting here every day this month, but I have been writing every day. Does that count? I was here this week

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with my serial poem on Literary Traces, Autumn, and I was here this week

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sharing a special Advent project on the Sparkle Stories blog.

Oh, and there was Thanksgiving, when I gave myself an internet fast except for pictorial representations of oven drama and a quick recipe search. We had friends over, and it was lovely, but the boy stayed up until ridiculous o’clock and then he and I were on our own today, having woken up at the usual AM version of ridiculous o’clock. I wrote up a preposterous, impossible to-do list (typical), and when I looked up from it, O was curled up under blankets with The Way Things Work and a cat.

In an instant, I put the brakes on. It was 28-but-feels-like-2 degrees outside. We were tired. So, I decided to make today about him. I did everything he wanted to do. We drove 15 minutes to the library that was closing in 30 minutes. We made the most of it and came home with a silly adorable book. We drank cocoa and made a list of all the people we want to give gifts to, and brainstormed handmade ideas. We went for a walk and crunched the icy leaves. We played a card game. He painted while I made him lunch, and I stopped what I was doing whenever he wanted me for something.

There is something special about a day home from school that isn’t the weekend. The weekend is full of all the errands and tasks we couldn’t perform during the week. More harried, even, than the crash of coming together on a weekday evening to dohomeworkeatdinnerwashupstorytimebed, especially as we enter the final stages of winter preparations.

So, I put the brakes on. I didn’t wash the yarns for an update. I didn’t cross off 80% of the things on my list. And my heart is full.

I’ll let that be the first on the list of things I’m grateful for today:

full heart * the sound of thin ice cracking underfoot * he still wants me to hold his hand * the wood on my porch * kitten cuddles * leftovers for dinner * lovely neighbors * new traditions * the capacity of our new-to-us oven (there are five baking dishes full of winter squash on one rack in there right now) * our menagerie of creatures who nourish us in so many ways * fulfilling collaborations * supportive family * blankets * patience * color * the sound of him coming home * Earl Grey, hot * well water, cold * good stories * clean laundry * the ability to create with my hands * the folks who appreciate it *

Let’s talk about that last one. You’re awesome, and I’m glad you’re here. If you play on Facebook and haven’t yet found my page, I encourage you to check it out, even if it’s only to be reminded every once in a while that I have a coupon code just for you that is valid 365 DAYS A YEAR for a good chunka change off any Etsy orders. No expiry.  So, you won’t see any special holiday sales for The Spun Monkey. You can choose to make it a sale day for yourself any time you want. Or not, if you don’t need to save the dough and you wanna help a mama out. Heh. Anyway, it’s yours to use as you desire, and always available. If it makes the difference between you picking up that one-of-a-kind spun-with-love-and-luxury for yourself or a loved one and, say, not picking it up…well, I want my work to be accessible.

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Speaking of the Facespace page…my likeage has exceeded 700! I want to celebrate with a GIVEAWAY! A randomly chosen winner will receive his/her choice of a fiber-y gift, a yarn-y gift, or a gift certificate towards a custom hand-spun, hand-knit wearable. To enter, leave a comment on this post before midnight Sunday. I’ll choose a winner via random number generator on Monday morning. Tell me something you are grateful for!

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spilt milk and gratitude. heaps of it.

I spilled some milk today.

I’m not talking about a glass being knocked over onto the kitchen table. I’m talking about slamming on the brakes on the way back from the farm and half-gallon glass jars full of it flying all over the car. Miraculously, only one of them shattered. Miraculously, the giant stag with the magnificent rack of antlers missed impact by a hair’s breadth and I still have a face. And a car. And there’s still a breathtakingly beautiful, ginormous creature bounding through the woodsy woods.

The car had a half gallon of milk in the passenger foot well. And a bazillion tiny shards of glass.

I can use the past tense because C came home and immediately took over from my failed attempts at remedying the situation. Tactics deployed include doing a better job with the shop vac than I did, engaging the car’s foot well fan while simultaneously running a portable electric heater, and now…re-charging my car battery.

It had been a relatively pleasant day, before the milk thing. Honestly, truly, I managed not to cry about it, but in the two hours following the incident, I was sure the world was falling apart and I understood why spilled milk might elicit such a reaction. Or any unfortunate incident that drastically alters the course of the day’s events.

I had chores to do, dinner guests coming, yarn to spin (for Stitches! Are you coming??), a fire to re-start because I’m a shitty fire-tender, a hungry kid who wanted me to read to him, and I was tangled in extension cords and pulling glass out of my fingers.

And then C came home, like a freaking knight in shining armor, and I didn’t even let myself feel totally lame about the fact that I was actually a damsel in distress, feeling overwhelmed and under-equipped. I needed rescue, and that was okay. In fact it was better than okay because he just said, calmly, “Don’t worry. I’ve got this.”

I don’t expect this. I don’t take rescue for granted. He has a big, stinky pile of problems of his own to deal with, broken stuff to fix, and never-ending chores. Home life is a second full-time job. But he can still come home to my added messes and disasters and greet me tenderly, ready to spread out his cloak to keep me out of the mud.

That, I may just cry about. With gratitude.

Embrace [em-breys] -verb: to take or receive gladly or eagerly

I’ve moved on from mourning the lack of winter around here and am currently embracing Spring…

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I found several gray hairs this morning, and I’m embracing those, too. C’s been telling me of their existence for years, but I never had visual confirmation of my own. For the first time in forever, my bangs were long enough to pin to the side this morning, and lo! – there they were. I think I will enjoy them…they have character and are thicker and more quirky than my usual thin, fly-away strands, and if they’re coming in the form of a fashionable skunk-streak, all the better!

These gray hairs and I are embracing the grass…

…and the hills, before they turn brown for the summer…

…and special rocks required careful transport, embraced in a small hand…

…and when the lion roared fiercely, I stood right-side-up again, and guess what? I embraced him.

What/who are you embracing today?