1. We have mostly given up on our backyard garden (and actually the front one, too, although I have tentative plans to find half an hour one afternoon to pull up all the weeds and leftover pepper plants and mulch them), but apparently it hasn't given up on itself.
We have new bean vines spiraling their way around the brown and dried-out stalks of corn we've left where they stand.
We even have some kind of butternut-squash-style gourd plant that has taken over every square inch of space, which is interesting since we didn't plant gourds. Only pumpkins, and all our pumpkin seeds sprouted.
I suppose that's the magic of gardening for you.
Also, we caught the dog stealing tomatoes off of what's left of the tomato plants.
He thought we didn't notice.
We totally did.
2. My friend Liz took me out shopping last Saturday, as a kind of "just have fun for a few hours" trip. We had breakfast at Panera, shopped in the mall, ended up having lunch with my friend Sarah and her family, and finally went home after the (always obligatory and the perfect ending to a day out) bookstore.
There's a store on our mall called Altar'd State that is a little bit like anthropologie went to church and then lowered its prices by 10 dollars. Usually the things in there are a little bit too young for me, but there are always three or four items that really catch my eye.
This time, it was a gray-and-black version of this shirt - and I ended up buying the green-and-caramel version pictured. It's basically the best winter shirt ever and I've worn it twice in five days and you can't stop me, so there. It's a skinny-jeans-and-boots kind of shirt. I'm trying to resist picking up the tan version that's available online, even though it's almost the same color as my skin and probably wouldn't be super flattering. The shirt is that comfortable.
They don't seem to have the gray-and-black variation online... or I'd already have bought it. I'm regretting not buying it when I was in the store. I could basically live in this shirt if it wouldn't eventually smell and scare people away from me.
So basically, highly recommended. A+, would buy again - or will buy again, if I ever have time to go back to the mall where the gray-and-black version lives.
3. Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood is on Netflix! Jason and I aren't huge TV watchers - we do more video-game playing, to be honest. Audra usually isn't even aware that the TV is on, unless you count "wanting to chew on the Xbox controller" as watching TV.
When I saw Mr. Rogers pop up in the Newly Added category, I decided to go ahead and push play. I remembered it, a little, from childhood. I didn't remember much beyond the theme song and a general sense that it had been one of the most pleasant things I had ever watched, second only to what Sesame Street was like before they became so heavily involved in merchandising instead of being "preschool on TV" for kids whose parents might not be able to send them to the real thing.
Audra. Is. Rapt.
Not for all of it, obviously - she's only 14 months old and tends to get distracted and play with something else. But the theme song has her sitting very still, listening to him sing. This morning, she and Jason cuddled on the couch while most of an episode played.
One of the episodes we watched recently, an episode that meant far more to me than it did to my baby, was an episode of dealing with really big sad feelings and how to be angry and sad in a healthy way, not to push it down or try to forget it but to actually deal with it. I sat there and thought, good Lord, Mr. Rogers is teaching me.
I'm 29 years old.
So... Mr. Rogers is definitely on our okay-to-watch list for Audra.
And, um, for me.
4. My blogger-friend Sarah over at Sarah On Purpose (I got to know her blog through our participation in #wholemama) just posted this list of 6 things you need to know about supporting a friend through a tough time.
While it's general and more geared towards a friend who is dealing either with their own illness/injury or that of family members than it is towards the kind of grieving-after-sudden-loss my family is going through, I think there are some really solid guidelines here to look into.
Her chart on the Circles of Support alone is worth taking a look at, and will ring very true for anyone who has gone or is going through stuff like this right now.
I can definitely say, these are important steps to take if you're trying to help someone deal with the awful that comes with illness or death. My friend Liz (who I mentioned took me out shopping Saturday) also lost a parent, although some years back and in a much different situation. One of the most important things she's done for me is talk about her own experience and how angry she was, gave me advice on grieving books she had read and which would be good to read vs. those I should probably wait to look at until the wounds are less raw, sympathized with me on how difficult it is to respond to people, things like that. These are things you don't (can't) talk about with many people, and having someone here who has experienced it walking with me through it when my own hurting family is so far away has been really invaluable.
Check out the blog post Sarah on Purpose wrote - you'll find some really good, important tips there.
5. Speaking of skinny jeans and boots, I am head-over-heels in love with this flannel tunic top from Lands End. Yes, I realize I live in South Carolina. Yes, I realize I'd only wear it for maybe two to three months a year.
No, I don't care about any of that.
I still love it and I still want it.
Look at it! It's such a pretty pattern! In an awesome color! And it's flannel!
I have a genetic predisposition to liking flannel, you know. I can't even help it. I'm not even responsible for my feelings about flannel.
Farmers wear flannel. It's what they do. When you come from farmer stock, there is always some part of your brain whispering to you, Now Katie, you and I both know today is a perfect day for a flannel shirt even when it's August and it's 92 degrees because you moved below the Mason Dixon line for some reason, who knows why*.
I. Love. That. Shirt.
This concludes your latest edition of "Katie is totally a walking Midwestern stereotype".
*We moved below the Mason-Dixon line because A. South Carolina had jobs and Illinois didn't, B. Jason's family lives here so we knew our eventual kids would still get to be close to at least one set of grandparents, and C. we wouldn't have to face the prospect of living without working heat during a cold Midwestern winter again. Just, you know - for the record. If you were wondering.