The official start of spring occurs in three days. However, for me, it started today! My brand new juicer came in the mail so I rushed home from work to make juice for the first time (that’s a whole other story that is forth coming). I shoved some yummy fruits and vegetables into my awesome juicer and produced the most beautifully green concoction you’ve ever seen. I decided that juice is best enjoyed outdoors so I headed outside. All my body weight was required to coax the hammock that’s been living in my living room to squeeze through the rather small opening of the entry to my porch. The hammock made contact with the porch, I made contact with the hammock, and Olive (my five pound chihuahua-shitzu mix) made contact with my stomach. All parties rested, perfectly content. The sun was really nailing it on the whole providing warmth thing, it was the kind of weather that is the perfect mix of lightness and nothingness. It’s the kind of weather that’s just right for lazying around a porch. So we did. A tune made its way through the screen door. My eyes followed the words on the screen of my kindle. It’d been a little while since I made time for leisurely reading. Olive was soon overthrown as the only furbaby on the porch as my cat Stella Luna and my other dog Oakley chose to come out. For Stella this was exciting, my future father-in-law and my fiancée recently screened in our porch and today was Stella’s first venture out. It was also Oakley’s first time on the porch as he’s facing fears of deep thresholds. It was perfect to enjoy the weather and my babies all at once. Olive was completely distracted by squirrels who were also taking advantage of the lovely weather- she kept a leaping on and off the hammock to give them a piece of her mind. She’s so tiny that the hammock barely rocked as she moved. It touched me that she kept checking in for cuddles. I knew when she was about to jump down because she’d fixate on something in the distance and begin to scoff and breathe heavy like an angry mother who’s had just about enough of an unrulely child. She’d scoff at me if she knew how adorable I think she is when she gets mad at squirrels. Rarely has sitting felt so blissful. My eyes left my book often to eyeball my jar of juice. Each time the bottom of the jar met my stomach for steadiness, a little ring of sawdust was left behind. I noticed my porch today like never before. The trees in my yard seem to have grown even taller since last spring or perhaps I never took the time to notice their grandure before. There’s a tiny eagle statue atop my outdoor light fixture that, I suppose, has always been perched there but might as well have flown in today if it were for my viewing pleasure. What an ecstatic feeling to know that this activity is mine for the next six months! I could get used to this! It’s moments like these that make me so thankful to have a home and a lovely porch. I am thankful to the boards that hold me up high into the trees, to the sun that allows such comfort outside today, to the birds singing along to the tunes blowing in the breeze, and to the dogs and cat who keep me company every day!
Cotton Branch Farm of Columbia hosted South Carolina’s first annual ThanksLiving and I attended with Lanier and our dear friend Nick (who I owe photog credits). An entirely plant-based feast was served to an entirely vegetarian/vegan group. The guests of honor were two turkeys who ate as well as their human counter parts. I loved on the turkeys all night and was in the pin with them before it was time to say goodbye.
One turkey was saved from a meat factory, the other a surrendered pet. Both will live the rest of their lives on Cotton Branch Farm. Aren’t they beautiful?
Cotton Branch is a non-profit animal sanctuary. It is home to pigs, horses, chickens, mules, donkeys, etc. These types of animals tend to fall through the cracks when neglected and there are few places for them to go to be cared for. A visit to the farm is already in the works for my Montessori class! I can’t wait to see this magical place in person! I urge everyone to visit their website to find out more and donate if you can! CottonBranch.org :)
I mentioned in one of my other recent posts that it’s been a year since I decided to be a full time vegetarian. The ThanksLiving feast was the perfect way to commemorate my journey. Not only was this my opportunity to honor the lives of animals with like minded people, but also to celebrate the life that I have now thanks to my adopted lifestyle. I hate to say it but I used to eat lots of foods with such a lack of consciousness. Exposing myself to the truth behind America’s meat industries opened my eyes to so many other issues surrounding what we (sometimes mindlessly) put into and onto our bodies. My choices have been constantly evolving over the past year and I’ve chosen to make locally, organically, and socially responsible decisions. This means eating clean foods from reliable sources and purchasing only cruelty-free brands. Not only does eating healthier and buying higher quality products make my body feel better, it makes my heart feel better too.
It bloomed!!! My Christmas cactus bloomed! I was given this beautiful plant by Kathy and I accepted it with a genuine smile and thought, “I am definitely gunna kill this.” But it bloomed! Happy Sunday! This made my day!
I tried my hand (for the first time) at baking pears and scones. To my surprise, both recipes came out delicious and were so easy to make!
First, I baked the pears. Lanier bought some organic ones from Trader Joe’s, they were big and perfectly ripe. I halved the pears and removed the seeds and doused them with cinnamon and spread honey over their bodies. I took a tiny bit off the other side of them so they’d sit on the baking sheet without sliding around. I put them in the baking sheet and then baked them in the oven at 350 degrees for half an hour.
Next, the scones!
3 3/4 cups pancake mix
1/2 cup salted butter (one stick)
3 tbsp sugar
1 cup cold milk
I mixed the pancake mix and the sugar together and then added the butter that I had cut into slices. I pinched the mixture to incorporate the butter and make it into dough. Then, the milk went in. I mixed it up and then kneaded it on a floured surface. I made it into a ball (it was super crumbly but it turns out that’s how it’s supposed to be), then smushed it down. I cut it into 8 pieces and put it on the baking sheet that I had greased with coconut oil. They baked for 10 mins at 400 degrees.
It was a great way to start off our Saturday! Lanier and I ate breakfast together.
When she was finished she said, “I’m so full I need to lie down on the floor.” I thought she was joking.
Yep, I haven’t updated this blog in a year. I’ve been a tiny-bit busy. I started a new job, moved to a new state, a new house, rescued then adopted a cat, a bird, and two more ratties, transported my dear Oakley 900+ miles to be with me full-time again, I’ve been on amazing trips, I’ve overcome so much. I look back on the past year of my life and I consider it the worst year yet. However, I wept when looking back on my past updates because I wrote about so many positive things and was then able, just now, to look back on all I have to be thankful for that came from this year of my life. Firstly, I was able to look back and remember last year’s Halloween and how fun it was to dress as Bob Ross! I think we may have outdone our last-year-selves with this year’s costumes though…
I looked back and remembered when Lanier got stung by a jellyfish. Which might not sound like a fun memory, but it was because that’s when we learned about the phenomenon that is I-did-something-bad-to-Kelly karma. You should ask her about that sometime. It’s real. Reading my blog posts I remembered finding Panther for the first time. I remembered how Wynwood reawakened in me my LOVE for art. I remembered becoming a vegetarian and by the post dates realized that I reached one year of being a vegetarian over a month ago! Happy veggieversary to me! Gimme two seconds to brag: I haven’t slipped up once. Ok I’m done. Most impactful, though, is that looking back I realize it wasn’t all bad. I had some incredible times in Miami and in the time immediately afterward. Looking back I realized how much I left out. I didn’t share very much about my Miami church (the best part), my Miami friends (the other best part), or about developing a migraine disorder (not the best part) and then it drastically improving (the other other best part). But, there’s plenty of time for that. Remind me? I’m really looking forward to getting this blog up and going again. It was such a wonderful escape for me in some low times. And now, in a high time of my life, I can’t wait to share all the things I’m excited about with anyone who is crazy enough to read what I have to say! My vision moving forward is for this space to morph into a lifestyle blog of sorts. I’d love to share with y’all my crafts, thrift store finds, adventures in being a mom to SIX animals spanning FOUR species, maybe share a few of my favorite outfits, and I hopefully start some ongoing projects! These are my high hopes for my little blog! I’m excited! And seriously, thank you for following along!
And with most situations in life, my feelings about reading my past posts and beginning again to write new ones can be summed up by a Destiny’s Child song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWKdMmH0B-E
Halloween in Miami was quite lovely! I spent the afternoon painting faces at my church’s carnival dressed as America’s favorite painter Bob Ross! The kids had no idea who I was dressed as but I found it hilarious and that’s really all that matters. My giant paintbrush, Lanier met up with me and we grabbed dinner and some festive cupcakes and headed to our site coordinator Heidi’s house!
Heidi lives in a neighborhood that welcomes around 2,000 trick-or-treaters!! Lanier and I walked her neighborhood and saw a bit of everything… Funny, scary, weird costumes. A particularly realistic looking werewolf jumped out at us and I naturally used Lanier as a human shield and we luckily survived. I had a small freak out about all the trash on the ground so we picked some up and then didn’t know what to do with it until we found a bag. We threw the trash in the bag until we found a can to throw it in. Lanier then exclaimed, “I can trick-or-treat with this!” And she collected a few lollipops before turning in. At one house she turned and yelled, “Look Dad!!” After she was handed little chocolates. We got a few strange looks, which was her goal. Ha! The looks on the children’s faces when I would open my mouth to talk and a womanly voice came out… Priceless.
My first (and last) experience as a drag king was so fun! I tried channeling my masculine side, but I don’t think I have one. But if I was to be man I hope I would be a kind and gentle one like Bob who, all joking aside, is one of my heroes. I feel very connected to Bob as we are both painters, although my talent will never even half his. I feel so inspired by him, a former military man, who after retiring from the military with master sergeant ranking allegedly vowed to never raise his voice again. Also, inspiring is how Bob held no value in monetary things. He taught the world to paint through his television show but received no compensation in return. Bob didn’t even sell his paintings, they all went to charities. His gentle hands nurtured countless animals throughout his life, from childhood he loved animals and had a passion for caring for them! I hope to live a life as gentle and impactful as Bob Ross did. I think of him often and remember, “We don’t make mistakes, only happy accidents.” and that “Every day’s a good day when you paint.” I had a blast dressing as him for Halloween but also wanted to take the opportunity to pay a little homage to a great man that we can all learn from.
Five (Happy Little) Things You Didn’t Know About Bob Ross
A video that I watch when I feel sad that ALWAYS makes me feel better…
Bob Feeding a Baby Squirrel
And lastly, you’re nobody until you’ve been reeeeemixxxxxxed…
Happy Cloud Remix
“There’s only one thing that cuts across all our realities. The bridge between all our differences. Is love. You have so much love in your life. Why are you trying to turn on that bridge?”
…My favorite TV show.
This blog post, like most of my inspired moments, was aroused by a conversation with the best person I know…
The “little” things in life mean everything to me. I hold a lot of stock in those moments. They stick with me. I relive little, fleeting moments that made me smile over and over.
I was sitting at my desk at RIviera last week. I got a text from my best friend, David. I read it and burst out laughing. I couldn’t stop. I cackled and chuckled and snickered. I laughed so loud that Rev. Monica came into my office with a huge smile on her face and said, “What is going on in here?” She was surprised to see me sitting at my desk all alone, just giggling. I can’t even remember what the text message said, but I remember how great I felt in that moment.
Some people wait around their whole lives for monumentous moments where there are revelations and new beginnings; and only these moments are worth while. This thinking can cause us to miss what’s right in front of us… a beautiful world full of things to appreciate all the time. The yellow of a fire hydrant, the sound of a car stopping, the freckles on a familiar face. Beauty is upon us, it’ll be there and occur whether we notice or not… why not notice? I find little moments like the one sitting at my desk to be the most profound. And aren’t our whole lives made up of little moments anyway? Seconds, into minutes, into hours, into days, into years. What if we looked for beauty in every second of every day? We could build a beautiful life one second at a time. Measuring our lives in beauty. Measuring in love. Measuring in the blessings around us. This sounds like fulfillment to me.
The Life of a Twentysomething
Awesome article! Whether you’re feeling happy, free, confused, or lonely or all at the same time. It’s miserable and magical.