I'm Still Alive

1:44 AM Edit This 8 Comments »
I'm still here. My NEW LIFE blog has been kind of morbid. It's where I have been and it's not who I am anymore. I'm not sure I'm ready to let go of it, but it's time. If you want to follow me elsewhere, please do. I enjoy the relationships I've made on this blog, but it doesn't represent who I am anymore.

www.gardenbykate.wordpress.com.

Give it a try. We'll make it. I will make it. I know I will.

عدد یا رقم

11:10 PM Edit This 10 Comments »
I remember writing once that the sky was a brilliant blue six years ago today. I don't remember it like that today. I remember sitting in my house with the curtains drawn; a cold, dark sorrow in my heart, wondering where the light went. Today, the curtains are open and the light is seeping back in. Slowly. But I trust that the brilliance may one day return. Miss you, my love.

The Future of New Life

1:41 PM Edit This 104 Comments »
I've been away from my blog so long, I couldn't even figure out how to write a new post. I am not happy about change in any way, shape, or form, but that is the way of the world, no?

I am home sick today. It came quickly last night and took over with a force. I haven't been this sick in a long, long time. But it is going around, and I am "around" many more people these days than I have been in the last six years, that's for certain. That's progress, and it's also taken it's toll on me. I have had a very difficult time adjusting to my new job. I am "on" from the minute I walk in the door. I listen to people. I hand over the kleenex on a regular basis and I have the privilege of bearing witness to others' pain every day. Then I come home to Tiny Apartment and regroup, relax; to make sense of this life I am living. I know for a fact that I am doing today what I am supposed to be doing. I love that I was brought to this place of veritable peacefulness where I get to use my gifts to help others. But I am also making tentative plans for my future.

A future alone. Weird to say that. Out loud through my fingertips. Don't think I've said it out loud through my lips yet. I am coming to terms with this thing that is my New Life. I have been waiting around for a long time. Waiting for life to come to me, or to happen, or to meet someone, or to do someTHING. And next year, I am going to be 40. I don't want to be 40 and waiting around anymore.

Remember when I got a financial adviser? Well, I met with him again last November. I am living paycheck to paycheck, trying to pay off debt. There are some weeks when I eat peanut butter sandwiches for every meal, interspersed with Ramen Noodles, because that's all I can afford. But it's what I want to do - get rid of that debt, so don't think I'm asking for sympathy. He doesn't seem to think that's any way to live, so he started asking me about dreams. What? I don't dream. I told my very first therapist that in November of 2001. That's why I started going. Because I had stopped dreaming. But lo, and behold. These things people call dreams came flying out of my mouth. I want to live in a tiny cabin on a lake in Minnesota; I want a boat, a garden, chickens and a goat. And if I'm going to live there myself, I need a big dog and a big truck. "What kind of dog?" he asked. A St. Bernard. "What kind of truck?" A crew cab Dodge Ram with a 6 foot bed. Preferably in blue. Seriously. All that came out of my mouth without me even thinking about it.

And he looked at me, smiled, and said, "You know, you can have all that." And I started crying.

Because for the first time in a long time, I told someone what I wanted, and they seem to think I just might be able to do it.

Thanksgiving

5:27 PM Edit This 9 Comments »
For the first time in I don't know how many times, my whole family was together for the holiday. Albeit last weekend, we were all there, brother, sister in law (with baby to be) and Baby Z, my sister and her new husband and the matriarch, Grammie. We all met at my mom and dad's house which is now the peak of the Bermuda Triangle in which we all live. I go east. My sister goes west. My brother and grandma go north.

Thinking about Thanksgivings past these days... Six years ago, The Dead Guy and I pulled up to his Aunt Jane's and simultaneously reached under our seats. His, rum. Mine, vodka. And we laughed because neither of us knew the other had anything. So, we toasted and swigged and staggered in. Five years ago, I was at my Recovery Mom's house, thinking to myself that if I would just ask her to spend the night, maybe I'd get one night sober. Thanksgiving since then? Rocky at best, but getting better every year. And this year? Waking up to a smiling little boy who finally knows how to say my name? KaTe. Special emphasis on the T. Brought tears to my eyes as we ate toast together. Life is good. Mostly.

I work on staying positive most days. I am overwhelmed by work at times. It keeps me from writing, which is my number one solace. But I love what I do. I love watching lightbulbs go off. And frankly? I love kicking people out of my office when they are being belligerent and clutching to denial. Usually they come back and tell me how mad they are at me, but that they've been thinking all day.

Which is my job. To make people think.

So, I do the same hard work. I think. Thanksgiving through my birthday in January is the hardest time of year for me. The memories of The Dead Guy's last days. The reminders of how I was struggling to get sober a year later. Life is so different today. Amazingly so. I'm sitting in Tiny Apartment, listening to the reverberations of the stereo upstairs. Gay Janitor was kind of sad yesterday and I suggested that he borrow some Christmas CDs. He is enjoying them as we speak. And I may or may not be considering what it might mean to dream a little tonight. It's been quite a while.

I'm Back?

5:35 PM Edit This 10 Comments »
I've been gone. I don't quite know where I've been. I hit a rough patch right about March and never quite seemed to come out of it. But, I'm coming back. And it feels much better. I'm taking two classes right now, so mostly I just feel like I work, I read, I take tests, and I sleep. I grounded myself from Facebook last night until I got my homework done. At least I still have that persona in me, right? But these are also the only two classes I have to take in order to test for my certification - which is why I opted to do them the same semester.

Lots has happened since I last posted. Did I tell you there is going to be another Baby Z? Did I tell you that Dog Girl and Boy are having a baby? Did I tell you about my sister's wedding? (I know I didn't. That was the last post I did. Telling you it was coming.) Munchkin Number 3 is walking. He crawled for about three months and then pulled himself up. It's all over now. Did you know that the garden is done and there are many bags of frozen green beans in the freezer and that mystery pasta sauce is still awesome? Did I tell you that the leaves are falling and that it's dark when I leave work on Tuesday and Thursday nights now? Sigh. So much to say, but so little at the same time. Those dark places leave me kind of blank and empty.

But. I celebrated Halloween this year. I didn't dress up. Not really. Cowgirl, Dirty Ben, ZBear, and Munchkins 1 and 2 did this.
And I did THIS. So they could do THAT. ZBear felt sorry for me at one point and put a bloody handprint on my face so I could participate in the Sioux Falls Zombie Walk, which apparently made national news. Cowgirl and Dirty Ben's team won the group costume contest.
And me? I just won being myself by being happy and content with life today.

Making Peace

11:10 PM Edit This 11 Comments »
He was alive the last time my sister got married.

Summer's End

7:54 PM Edit This 5 Comments »
The garden is producing more than I can handle. I have ziplock bag after bag filled with frozen green beans. I've made basil and oregano pesto - frozen without the Parmesan. I have made a number of "mystery" pasta sauces from tomatoes and peppers from mine and Chakra Queen's garden, respectively. I have eaten cucumbers in every shape and form since the beginning of July. I am trying my hand at the season's first pickles tonight.

1 cup of boiling water
1/3 cup kosher salt
(stir until salt is dissolved)
5 smashed cloves of garlic
2 Tablespoons of dried dill
(or fresh, but I couldn't find it)
2 pounds of quartered cucumbers
Combine all ingredients with the saltwater. Try them after 4-12 hours. Refrigerate when they taste "pickle-ey." They will continue to pickle, but more slowly. YUM.

The whole not moving thing really disappointed me. I was looking forward to a new place with more light and  room. But I do believe with my whole heart that there was a reason it all fell through. My garden, right? It is my peace and joy most days. Gay Boyfriend was so sad that I was thinking of moving. I had no idea until I told him I wasn't going. We are going shopping for a new toilet and shower surround tomorrow. He also has a countertop to mount in the kitchen for a "table" and extra baking room. I've missed baking. I've missed cooking, period. No counter space means not much freedom to cook. 

I embarked on a clean and destroy mission since I decided to stay here. Washing walls, vacuuming for hours at a time, rearranging, polishing, washing windows, going through drawers and cabinets. I took every single picture and painting down and I'm going to replace them. All of them. New Life, once again. I have to do something, right?

I haven't written much lately. I don't like to write when I'm not well. But I think things are turning around in New Life world. I'm certain the coast is clear just yet, but it's better.