Our Front Yard Garden

Hey world!!!

I have been so crazy busy! Isn't it funny, you cut back your schedule and think, "Oh yeah, I'll have so much time on my hands now, what am I going to do with myself? Just ages, to do WHATEVER I WANT, BWAHAHAHA." Yep, doesn't quite work out that way. ;)

Lots and lots of gardening going on at this house. I'm literally overjoyed with all the progress we've made on making our home beautiful and ours. So, because we're renting, Joel's been a tad bit reluctant to redo anything major. The backyard was landscaped and redone by the previous tenant, and the way she felt was that her baby was the back and feck the front. Literally, she said that to me-- okay, minus the feck part, but hey, it was implied! Hahaha. So needless to say, our front was sadly neglected and untouched for over eight years! Gasp! All that crabgrass was happily plugging away, the Japanese Irises were crowding each other into the next milenia and the snails were basically creating mini Eden cities of snail prosperity. Oh, and the aloe wasn't too shabby in it's own goal of world domination. I've had the idea of pulling all that junk out and putting something beautiful in for a few months now, but didn't actually act on my desire until our first really beautiful sping-esque weekend. I put on some gardening gloves, pulled out our really crappy shovel (which bends mind you---it's plastic; and it has been my black widow killer, so it's sat out in the sun for a few months. Basically, anytime I put a lot of pressure on it, I was worried it would shatter and send plastic shrapnel into my face. There's definitely something to be said for having good tools!) and went to town! Here's what it looked like before I started:

Then once I pulled all that crap out:
So much better already, right?! I had work the rest of the week, so I couldn't start planting until the next weekend and honestly, Joel and I loved how it looked all blank. I mean, I wish the house painters had gone all the way down, but who CARES! No more crabgrass!!!! WOO HOO! :D

We went to good old reliable Green Acres here in Sac. and picked out everything I wanted and had planned for...plus a few things I didn't and back home to plant we went. And Viola!

 This is the view front our front porch! There are Nasturtiums in the foreground where all the aloe once reined. Notice I left just one for sentimental reasons, it just felt wrong to pull them all out!

We pulled the flag stones from the back yard, and the stones that form the border are the same that were there before, I just moved the boundary out about six inches or so further than it was, and double layered them.

If anyone's curious, here's what we planted:
Three different types of tomatoes, beets, rainbow chard, spinach, bok choi, bell peppers, artichoke, stevia, calendula, Chinese torpedo onions, lemon basil and sweet basil, Delphinium, lavender, Icelandic poppies and poppy anemones, nasturtium, dahlias, and strawberries. Whew! I'm so excited!

I just feel so amazingly satisfied. I've wanted to grow tomatoes for years, but first off, our back yard doesn't get enough sun, and second, even if I could, there's no where to plant them. Here's a picture of our backyard just for good measure:
Course, that's from last spring, I did some hard core trimming this year, but it will be beautiful once it all fills back out. Our backyard is so tiny, but I feel like it's so special, we hardly notice. My favorite has to be the Redbud tree. Gorgeous! Since this picture was taken, I've added a raspberry plant to the very far back where the potted tree is that I plan to train up the fence; and the tree that's in the pot is now in the ground to the left, in the corner. The tree is a Japanese Snowbell and it struggled horribly last year, it was just so unhappy in that pot. I can already tell it is infinitely happier in the ground.
Oh! I also planted a wild grape plant under our side fence! I'm excited about this one, it's really tiny at the moment, only about four inches tall, but it has already sprouted two new leaves in the past week.
And finally, I planted one of my very favorite plants, white bleeding hearts!!! I've grown them in the past, but they never get enough shade, hopefully this new spot will work, it's almost all shade, and I have the hardest time getting things to grow there. So far so good though.

Cheers!

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Hair Forks and Other Ramblings...

Well hello blogging world! I'm feeling really happy and upbeat today. I have to admit that the last few days have been a little rough for me, I was having a bit of a hard time with my diabetes. I was doing so well for about a month--always in the perfect range, and then the last few weeks I've been too high constantly, it is so frustrating and I was feeling more and more infuriated. So much anger, and it all spearheaded two days ago. I was depressed, and then blessing in disguise happened. I accidentally left my fast acting insulin at home and when I checked my blood on my lunch break I was already high (263). Oh crap. That had never happened before. So I canceled the wheat bagel I ordered to go with my scrambled eggs with spinach and cheddar and instead got a garden salad to go with my eggs, and guess what? Two hours later my blood glucose was down to 165. I had almonds for a snack, and Two hours after that I was at 80. I ate an apple after work and only went up to 115. How frickin' cool is that?! Not only did I make it all day without a major struggle, but I actually felt energized for my entire shift! I normally get super lethargic and weak around 3 and instead I felt awesome. So the moral of the story is that if I eat right I might not even need insulin, or at least not as much, which is something I knew conceptually but it was really nice to actually watch it happen. Same goes for if I did the PCT, which makes me feel rather optimistic.

In other news, I've always identified with older women much more than younger women. I suck/don't care about hair and make-up. Seriously, I can hardly manage to braid my hair; it's like I have sixteen extra fingers or something, which cracks me up. As a pretty accomplished knitter, you'd think hair would be a natural tangent, right? Also, I look forward to going grey! I know it's weird, but I love the look of women with salt and pepper hair. So to get back on topic here, I work in a cafe and I have noticed over the years that my favorite people are the older ladies who don't care what people think--the ones that wear what they want, no matter how eccentric, wear their hair up in fun twists that are easy and quick, you get the picture. I decided I need to stop trying fit the younger girl style and go straight to old lady so I went on etsy and bought this (https://www.etsy.com/transaction/182553185?ref=fb2_tnx_title) hair fork. I LOVE IT SO MUCH!!!! It's perfect, and so me!

Despite the bad bathroom phone picture, doesn't it look cool! 

On a side note, I do have to say that I'm really proud of Joel, he's put so much effort into becoming healthy, both physically and emotionally, and he's really come into his own with teaching. I've always thought he is a good teacher, but now he is phenomenal. He goes so far above and beyond to support his students and I feel like he should get a little recognition. I feel like he's doing everything right and I'm super impressed. On the art front, he's got his art up at Temple right now, and he just sold and 
entire SHELF of little woodburnings, and the shelf itself too! This is what the show looked like before he sold the shelf:


And a close up of the shelf:

I'm a little sad to lose some of those! A few of them were among my favorites, but how cool! Some guy bought them for his wife's birthday and he said she was so excited, she spent an hour looking at all of them. I call that an artistic success! 

My own knitting is going great, I've been spending my extra days off knitting and creating which feels so amazing! I have this little crocheted octopus that I got at a craft fair 2 years ago, and I literally look at it every single day. It dawned on me last week that I should try to knit my own equivalent and so I spent one whole day perfecting my own design. These little guys are turning out really cute! I've been trying to think of things I can sell this summer at craft shows, so they're perfect!
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Happiness and Thoughts on a Soulless Job

Hey guess what world?! I feel happy! I feel happier and freer than I have in literally years. Whoa. I realized yesterday; Joel came home from work and I was just different, we talked about his day and then he asked about mine, and I said I had a great day! Okay, now I realize that that might sound basic and unoriginal, I mean doesn't everyone have a great day at work at least once in a while?-- and the answer is no! I literally, for the past three years I have spent at my cafe have never come home and said I had "a great day!". How insane crazy is that. I realized that even when we go on vacation, or I take days off, I never would let myself feel open or all the way happy because A. My coping mechanism was to shut myself down because my boss is emotionally abusive to all of her employees and to survive in that environment you have to eat at least a little of your own pride and soul, and B. I always had the thought of the cafe looming over my head. I mean yeah, I wouldn't be working at that very moment, but I always was counting down in my head the days until I would have to go back there. Ew. What a mess! I'm a little frustrated with myself because I'm just the type of person that hates to give up and it's not always a good thing. I would literally have knots in my stomach every single day on my way to work the first few months that I worked there because I knew I was probably going to get yelled at for nothing, or someone else would and you always have to be on your guard to make sure you're doing everything in precisely the "right" way or heaven, watch out. So even through all of that, I didn't leave! What the hell? In my mind it's quitting....well literally of course, but personally, I feel as though it's a failure for me. It's not pushing through and making it work, it's just taking the easy way out and giving up. So I know that I have this silly tendency to hang on to things that are really bad for me until the absolute  nasty bitter end, and I see how idiotic it is so in the future I need to remember this time, and all the others when I did the same thing, and if I'm in a situation that isn't good for me and isn't actually getting me anywhere, I need to walk and find something that will nourish my soul and won't make me hate all the people around me. That's one of the pit falls of public service jobs, after long enough you just cannot handle customers any more. I used to laugh off the ridiculous questions and blank faces, but after a while I started to hate them,I despised them. Working and serving those who are pompous and look down at you as a lesser being because they don't know how hard you work and they have never even lifted a plate for another human being is just soul crushing. Literally. It made me so bitter and angry all the time. I was a jerk to a few people that definitely didn't deserve it and I always felt bad afterward, but at the time my anger was just so intense I lashed out. I was miserable and I couldn't think of a way out. I knew that of course I could find another job, and of course I could be doing something I loved instead, and naturally, I could even find a job that payed much more, and actually valued me as the hard worker as I am, but for some reason those were empty words to me. They didn't actually seem real. I ALWAYS had an excuse, "Yeah, but I have job security here, and I have bills to pay, so if I start a new job I don't know that I'll be able to support myself for a little while. I just need to work here a little longer so I can save up some money." So, while those thoughts and fears may have been founded to some extent, there was never going to be a time that I had saved up enough money to be confident in leaving, I do my best with saving, but really now, I make $10.50 an hour and tips are pitiful. I could work in another restaraunt job and walk with hundreds a night instead of the $10-20 per day. I'm not exactly Ms. Moneybags.

To change the subject now, I want to introduce everyone to the amazingly talented Jessica A. White, a.k.a. JAW. She's a local tattoo artist here in Sacramento and I am anamoured with her style. I have literally been talking about getting my next tattoo since I got my first one, all the way back in 2010! I feel like four years is more than enough time, and I am going to actively work towards my next one. I set the goal of having it by Marty and Grady's wedding, so by July. I have a vague ish idea of what I want, and I want to give her freedom with the rest because she is just that amazing. I'll keep you updated on that. ;)

Alright, well I'm signing off, at least for the time being, although if my current trend is an indicator I'll be back to write more in an hour. Hah!

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Communication Skills! Yaaaaay!

I had my second to last Sunday at work! It's so funny, I used to be so stressed every single Friday, Saturday, AND Sunday because I would be dreding those horrible, stressful days that seemed to last forever leaving me feeling drained, taken advantage of, stepped on and all around sad and dejected. Interestingly enough though, since I told my boss I am no longer working on weekends, my Sundays have magically become easy and painless! It makes sense, the pressure is gone now, I know that I won't have to work them anymore soon, but it's still pretty funny to me. Another reason I could be feeling happy today is that I came home to a freshly clean home, and I appreciate my boyfriend taking the time to clean so much. It always feels like a gift. Plus, he's really cute so there is that too. ;)

I'm starting to realize how much stuff I have in my now dead computer! I'm trying to hunt down my resume and a couple of knitting charts I was midway through. I'm hopeful, but it's still a pain! Arg.

On a happy note, my friend Marty asked me to be one of her bridesmaids at her engagement party last night!!!!! I'm so excited for their wedding!!!! Normally when someone I know is getting married, I'll be excited, but I have my own personal reservations about marriage so my feelings will be slightly subdued; but I can honestly and sincerely say that I cannot think of a better couple--and this is how I know-- it's how they watch each other. And I don't mean sometimes, or just when they are sitting together, I'm talking about how Grady will be talking to Joel, and I'll just watch Marty. She always has this little smile on her face when he talks and she watches Grady so deeply, like she is thoroughly listening to every word he has to say and and it fills her with happiness and contentment. Grady does the same thing too, it's just so sweet to watch and I couldn't be more honored that they want to include me in their wedding. Okay, enough sappy writing.

I found this amazing article today! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/glennon-melton/the-questions-that-will-save-your-relationships_b_4618254.html . It's all about being thoughtful in what questions you ask those around you (specifically your partner) and how you ask your questions. I'm finding more and more throughout my life how invaluable good communication skills are. Joel has been amazing for me in this way. His family is filled with talkers. If there's a problem, they might fight a bit, but they ALWAYS resolve the issue and talk it out. That's foreign to me sadly, I feel like my family has always been very hush hush. If there's a fight you both either pretend it didn't happen and never speak of it, or you just don't talk for a while---and then never bring it up again. So needless to say my communication skills were hardly evolved. Joel taught me the importance of acknowledging the other person's feelings. It's also important to honestly consider your own feelings and where they are originating from. Are you actually just sad because your friend upset you and you are taking it out on your partner, or does it actually really bother you that much that your boyfriend didn't put the butter back in the fridge? Joel has helped me realize that your own thoughtfulness, awareness, and communication with yourself is almost more important to develop than your communication skills with others, because once you have that down everything else seems a lot more clear and manageable. I've also found that how you approach a conversation is so important! I try to always start with how I am feeling about something, rather that how the other person is making me mad. For instance, I will say, "I feel like we don't get to spend enough quality time together and it's making me really sad; I cherish our time together, can we put some effort into getting more romantic time to enjoy each other. I really love you, and you mean a lot to me" as opposed to, "You never make time for us! How come you never want to spend time with me, am I not as important to you as your stupid computer?". Obviously those examples are fictional and a little silly, but you get the idea. Also, notice how I switched the sentences? I prefer to structure my sentences to include both parties, so I say we, us, etc. rather than I, you, because then it is less accusing to the other person and more taking responsibility for situations equally. Anywho, I definitely didn't plan on rambling on so much, but I have been thinking lately that I have gotten so much better at communicating and it has helped my own relationship. It has definitely been a growing experience that has taken time and commitment, and I'm really glad that Joel and I have evolved to this level together. Back to the article though, I love how she brought awareness to something so simple and obvious that I never consciously thought of! It's so brilliant and I will try my best to incorporate her technique into my life.

While we're on this word rampage, I became very clear about Waldron. I want Waldron in my future. I don't know how I'll get there, how long it will take, or anything else really, but I will. I'm actually excited to see how this particular journey will play out.

I'm off work tomorrow (yay!!!), so I think I will dedicate my time to finishing up little projects I have around the house, checking things off my to do list, and maybe giving my etsy a little love. ;)


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My Computer Died!

Well, it's a sad day today! My computer completely stopped working. There's just a black screen when I try to turn it on and that's it. Joel's going to take it to school with him tomorrow to test if it's the screen, but I kind of doubt it. :/ I'm just hoping I can get all of my data off if I have to get a new computer. Oh wells, these things do happen, it's nothing I can't live without to be honest.

On a different note, I can't stop dreaming of Waldron. It started with a dream once a month or so, but this past week I've dreamt of it nightly. It's weird too, because I haven't been thinking about it much during the day, not like I was before. I guess my subconscious is still stuck on it. For those of you who don't know, Waldron is a tiny island off the coast of Washington in the San Juan's. It's probably also the most magical place I can think of and I have a huge dream of living there. Just visualize America back in the fifties. There are no paved roads, few cars--and the ones that are there are all very old, most of the people who live there make a living either fishing or farming, and it's so unbelievably and breathtakingly beautiful. It's like it was literally made for me. I can see my garden full of veggies and herbs I would use to make teas and dyes for my hand spun fibers! The beaches are littered with agate that you can find if you know what you're looking for and search long enough. Ah, and the weather! Sunny in the summer, but otherwise cold and overcast with lots of rain. :) In other words, just the place for me! I found a few pictures on the web and added them to my New Year's dream board because they make me feel so peaceful and happy.
Here's what the main road looks like. Yep. Now tell me you can think of someplace more amazing to live?! I didn't take any photos of Waldron sadly, at least not of the main area, but I have this dream of wearing a go cam when I walk from the dock to wherever I happen to be staying at the time because I feel like that is just such a great example of how the island feels. One day I'll end up there, you'll see. ;)

I've been bad again! I haven't work on my socks in two days!!! Bad Kaytie! Haha, I'm thinking I need to put a little time in before I go to bed tonight. I'm so close to finishing the first sock, I've just got to do it! 

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Life changes galore!


Hey guess what world?! I finally did it! Well, I started to make a change at least. Yesterday, I told my manager that I'm cutting my hours down to three days a week and no weekends! It was funny, I really think that blogging has helped hold me more accountable for what I say I am going to do. Yesterday's lunch rush was crazy. We were understaffed, super busy, my manager K was being herself expediting and causing way more trouble than was necessary, and on top of all that my blood glucose (BG) crashed. Right in the middle of the rush. And I couldn't get it to go back up. ARGH, why?! So through all this, I was doing my usual mumblings in my head about how I hate my job, how I can't stand K, how much of a toll this job takes on my body, and how under appreciated I feel there. It felt different though, instead of just buckling down and getting through it resigned that I will have to do it again and again and feeling sad and angry--I was angry, but I felt soooo ready to change. I just decided I was going to march into her office and tell her; that day. No waffling or backing out. It was just time. It was funny, I had worked out all of the things I would tell her about why I didn't want to be full time anymore, and I was entirely ready to tell her how I felt; but when I told her my news, she just said "Okay, no problem, we'll make it work. The schedule is already out for next week, is that okay?". WHAT?! Hahaha, I couldn't have been more surprised. I walked out of that office with a huge smile on my face.

So now, here are my new plans for my life (let's see if I can keep up the positive change with my written word as my incentive to do better and be happier). I want to take the extra days off to focus on knitting more, and learning how to dye my own fiber. I want to read more! I used to read ALL the time and now I never do, I just get sucked into media and when I'm not doing that I'm knitting. On a side note, I realized that audio books are no bueno for me, they're nice at the time, but I don't retain the info like when I actually read. I listened to Dracula on audio book and really enjoyed it, but a few months later a friend read it and asked me what I thought actually happened when Jonathon Harker escaped the castle---a seriously pivotal and main part of the book---and I honestly and sincerely couldn't remember! Whoa. I remember having debates with myself about it and spending time thinking on that very subject and now there's just blankness. So from now on, audio books are only for fluff reads or books I've already read, but I digress.

I want to photograph all those darned knitting projects that I have completed so I can list them on etsy. And I don't mean photograph them sitting pretty on a rock like I normally do, I mean get someone to take photos of me modeling them/find someone else to model them so I can actually sell them. My etsy is pointless unless I give it love and attention. Hopefully I can generate a little extra income.

I want to meditate more! I used to meditate all the time! I used to be surrounded by candle light every night, I used to work with herbs and make my own teas and bath salts, I used to take baths, I used to go outside just to watch the moon, and I will make these things more of a priority because they make me happy.

Alright, well I have to get ready for my appointment with my nutritionist. Wish me luck! It's my first visit with one.                                                                                                                                                  

Oh, and I've also started listening to classical music again. It makes me feel happy, peaceful, and productive. So much better than the repetitive poppy stuff Pandora sticks me with. :)           
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Ipomoea Socks

Whew, my life is a little bit complicated at the moment. I feel like I'm at a crossroads, there's so many different directions my life could go. Here's what I do know, I HAVE to leave my job. I have to. But how?! I realize that I will find job stability elsewhere, but I still question. It is seriously time for me to stop being so lazy and put myself out there! I need to get that resume in order ASAP. I feel like once I do that everything else will fall into place, and I think it's time I trust that feeling.

In other news, I started the Ipomoea socks yesterday! I am absolutely and completely in love with the yarn. Also, apparently I blocked out how utterly slow going knitting socks is. Whew. I knitted for hours and only got the cuff and a little of the leg repeat done. A little depressing, but I'll just have to knit a little bit each day and turtle on along. How do people just knit socks?! I actually do think it would be faster if I wasn't using DPNs. Normally I don't care and they work fine for me, but they feel really cumbersome for some reason. I'm using my old Addis instead of the Hiya's or the square wood ones I have been using recently and the Addis are so much heavier! Maybe that's part of it?

Anywho, I'm off to work. Wish me luck world!
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Re-entering the blogging world.

Well hello! I originally set up this blog to document my Ireland trip--which was in 2010. I still can't believe that it has been that long. I've been feeling the need to blog again and I think I'm overdue. I plan on writing about anything and everything. It's going to be more of a journal for myself, a way to remember my everyday life, and less of a public geared blog.

Where I am in my life now: I will have worked at my current job for three years come February 1, just one month from now. Joel and I have been together for quite a while now, also three years this Spring. I'm happy where I'm living, we have the cutest little house, and two of the sweetest little cats. Truth be told, I will probably prattle on about them from time to time, it's just so hard not to!!! They just bring me so much happiness. Knitting is a pretty huge part of my non-work life. I mostly love working with all the different fibers, they're so lovely!

I just finished a baby llama cowl, knitted with undyed yarn, and I plan on dying it with black beans! I found the instructions here: http://brambleberriesintherain.com/2011/04/black-beans-as-a-natural-dye-revisited/ . Who would have thought black beans would dye fiber blue/green? Super awesome, hopefully I can start that project in the next day or two.

My diabetes is going okay. I actually have my first appointment with a nutritionist this Friday. I'm hoping for the pump, I just have to get some more Lantus testing nights in. Oh joy. ;)

Alright, that's good for a start, I felt it was important to at least get a little writing in while I was feeling it to get the ball rolling a bit. Goodnight.
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