Year of Pleasures: Nostalgia

A scary computer glitch made it appear that all my photos had disappeared somewhere. Luckily I tracked them down before I had to do anything drastic, but once I found them I had myself a little slideshow in celebration. Gosh my kid is cute.

This photo is from a couple of years ago already, Atti was three and we were playing some music. Loud. I was inspired by his t-shirt and so I put on the playlist I made for him of Beatles music. And he rocked out. And I died of happiness. And today I’m dying all over again from the memory.


Year of Pleasures: Apple peeler

Apple Peeler, Corer, Slicer

It peels, it slices, it cores, it basically does in 15 seconds what it used to take me 5 minutes to do. It suctions to my counter and all I have to do is turn the crank to go from fresh off the tree apple to perfect slices ready for baking. Living so close to Apple Hill, I’ve been making a whole lot with apples lately, and so has Bear. I don’t know which of us is more in love with this little baby, but since it’s the first time I’ve ever gotten Bear to help me with my canning, I think it’s probably me.


Year of Pleasures: Pear Upside Down Cake

Pear Upside Down Cake
Bear made this from the giant box of pears we bought our last time up to Apple Hill. I’ve had pineapple upside down cake a few times and haven’t really been a fan, but this? Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh! It was heaven. Pineapple is to acidic for a simple cake and brown sugar glaze. But with pears? It SINGS! (I ate the whole thing.)


Year of Pleasures: Picture Frame

Well Behaved Women Frame
This quote has been popping up all over the place over the last few years and I’ve seen it attributed to everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Tina Fey. But the real author of this quote is Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Pulitzer Prize winning scholar and Mormon Feminist.

I found this frame years ago and fell in love. it now sits right next to my computer monitor where I stare at it as I work. It’s a great reminder to me that the costs I’m paying now for not falling in line will be worth it in the end.


Year of Pleasures: Sweeping Slippers

Sweeping slippers

I love having wood floors so much that whenever I’m the one making the choices it’s the only way I’ll go. Your home can be pretty close to allergy free, you can make all the spills you want without stained carpets, plus, they’re so gorgeous. And you do not want to see what a wheelchair does to carpet. Matted filthiness in a matter of weeks.But there are a couple of downsides. It can be hard on the feet, and dusty floors are always a problem.

But with these slippers I found at Home Goods, I get to solve those downsides in comfort and style. These slippers cushion my feet and pick up dust and kittie fur dust bunnies as I’m walking around doing my daily tasks. Plus, they are just the cutest.


Year of Pleasures: The kindness of strangers

St Jude

My friend Regina and I were enjoying a beautiful summer day by eating at a local sandwich shop and sitting outside at a little cafe table. Regina is a more protective mom than I have learned to be, so we tease each other all the time about that. She has a heart attack when Atti pushes up to balance on the two back wheels of his chair, I shrug my shoulders and say, “He’ll learn what happens when he doesn’t listen to his mama.” This day Atti was wheeling all around the patio, slaloming between the other tables, threatening to roll out into traffic, and giggling at Regina’s distress. I showed him exactly how far he was allowed to go and called him back when he crossed that line, and he listened. It was awesome. It was just how any little precocious 5 year old would act while he’s stuck at a grown up lunch.

Just before we were getting ready to leave, an old man came up to our table and handed me this little medal. He pointed to Atticus and said, “That’s for your little guy. God bless.” And walked away. I thanked him sweetly while the color rose in Regina’s face. When he was safely out of earshot she asked, “Does that bother you? A stranger coming up and saying he’s an impossible cause?” I got where she was coming from, it was defensiveness borne out of a ferocious love for this little guy. She calls Atti “our boy” and loves him like he really is one of hers. She knows exactly what he’s capable of and how indomitable his little spirit is, and isn’t going to let anyone say anything different.

But I was really moved. I’m always moved when someone wants to share a sincere expression of their faith and love with me, and that’s what I felt from that sweet man. Atti really is up against a pretty daunting challenge. I think he can take all the prayers and hope and kindness anyone is willing to extend to him. And then I think he’s going to show that the only impossible cause is betting against him.


Year of Pleasures: 1000 Cones

For years and years I’ve been promoting the work of the fine folks at Maximum Fun, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Where else do you find such reliable warmth? I was happy to donate to the kickstarter for this project, and watching the video is just a delightful little boost in my day.


Coping with the darkness

Duvet Day

My new friend Lillian left an amazing comment, and as part of that she asked: “When you are in your dark place how do you force yourself to even get out of bed?”

Today just happens to be one of those days. I feel the darkness hovering and today is the day when I have to drop everything and deal with this before it gets worse. So that’s step 1: Pay attention and try to head it off before it gets dangerous.

Step 2: Tell someone. Bear has always been super supportive of me, but he didn’t get how this disease worked for a long time. We’ve been working on educating him and me learning to speak my needs and it’s paid off for us. This morning all I had to say was “I’m feeling the darkness around the edges,” and he knew what that meant. He made plans to get home from work as soon as he could, he’s planning to make dinner, and this evening he’ll be working on cleaning the house, since chaos in my environment is always a big trigger for me. I’ll also be reaching out to my network of friends who can just remind me that there is love and friendship in this world.

Step 3: Make sure I’m up on my medications. Medicating is really hard, particularly for people who deal with depression. I really try to be rigorous with myself but if I’ve gotten lazy or lost track, I have to address it. I also have some medication I can use when I’m sliding into one or the other of my poles, so I’ll use that.

Step 4: Decide what the bare minimum is that I need to do today. When I’m depressed then even fixing lunch seems insurmountable. If I hold myself up to my usual standards than the weight of it all will bury me. Some days the bare minimum is to just make it to the end of the day. Today I’ve decided that I can get Atti to and from school, and keep us both fed and safe. And maybe, after I’ve rested I’ll take a shower. And for extra bonus points I might even color my hair. Every single other thing will just have to wait.

Step 5: Self-care. When I have a cold, I love to eat popsicles and drink hot tea. They make my throat feel better and clear out my sinuses. When I am depressed, I do puzzles. I cross stitch. I watch British comedy. They make my brain feel better. The stigma around mental illness is so enormous that most of us have internalized it. I’ve found that my answer to that is to pathologize it. Treat it like the disease that it is in every way. When I have a cold I feel no shame about staying in bed and drinking tea. So today I will shake off the shame, stay in bed, and laugh at British sitcoms until I feel better.

If you are struggling, know that you are not alone. Take care of yourselves, friends.


Year of Pleasures: DANG DOG!

Dang dog!
How can I love something so much when it causes me so much trouble?

That necklace she’s wearing? It used to be sprinklers.


Year of Pleasures: Friends with Benefits

Canning Tomatoes

It pays to be friends with farmers. My pal Dave planted me 65 tomato plants. I have been canning for two days and it’s barely August.