Mother’s Day Brownies

My boyfriend and I had a little Mother’s Day get together at our house yesterday. We managed to pull it off pretty well and were so lucky to have so many people make it. Both of our moms and dads, my little brother, and my oldest brother and his family were all able to make it. 

Mostly we served finger foods, which got me out of a lot of cooking and dishes, but everything was great and we had more than enough food. 

Unfortunately, when I started making brownies, I realized that we had no vegetable oil. I panicked, but, upon further research on good ol’ google, I found several websites that said I could substitute coconut oil at a 1:1 ratio. It was worth a try! 

The brownies actually came out pretty good, so, as long as you can appreciate a hint of coconut in your brownies, I would recommend trying it!

I will say that I might try resucing the ratio a bit in the future. I love gooey brownies, but even these were a little too gooey for me. 

All in all, though, everything turned out great, and I hope everyone had a great Mother’s Day!

Gardening Woes

As I’ve mentioned before, growing things is new to me. It used to be that people would give me plants that were indestructible, but, despite my best efforts, I would destruct them anyway. 

I am great with rose bushes, though. I brought my mom’s rose bushes back to life a couple years ago by pruning them back in fall. And loving on them a little bit before they bloomed. I think my biggest problem is that I try to love on plants too much, instead of just giving them time to grow. 

Right now, I have lavender and rosemary growing in my backyard. I’m learning that the lavender doesn’t need as much attention as I’m giving it, but at least I have recognized the problem. 

We have wild strawberries growing in our backyard, so I did some research and wanted to try growing them in a pot. The problem: my little dogs. 


Lesson learned, I suppose. I’ll try again, and maybe keep it out of reach next time. 

Origin Stories of the Animals

I love dogs. I am the kind of person who googles “cute puppy videos” on rough days. It works like a charm to cheer me up every time. When I was young, I had two dachshunds. When I moved out of my parents’ house, my mom kept the dogs, so for a short time in my life I didn’t have a furry companion.

In 2012, my roommate called to see if I would mind him bringing a puppy home “just for the weekend”. Yes, I minded, because I knew what would happen. We did not have the time for a dog. We did not have the money for a dog. He brought her home anyway. It was his boss’s dog. His boss was a raging alcoholic. This puppy was small enough to cradle in your hands, and she was a white fur ball that he had dyed a very vibrant blue. He sent her to this sleepover with no collar, no leash, and no dog food. He told us to just let her outside in our busy neighborhood and assured us that she’d be fine. She was 8 weeks old at the time. He told us to feed her “cheeseburgers, or whatever”. He was also a hoarder and told us that, at some point in the very short time that he was in possession of her, he had lost her in the house. For three days.

I tried so very hard to hate this little puppy that we had no room for in our lives, but she was just too cute, and I couldn’t let her go home to neglect and possible death. So, she squeezed through the cracks in my life and made herself at home.

bluecaseylaptop

She wiggled all the way to the center of my world, and we spent every day together, just me and my girl. As she got a little older, the blue faded into grey, then white, and I had to be away from the house for work a lot more, so I started the search for a friend for her. She’s little, being a Chihuahua-American Eskimo mix, but, boy, is she vicious. I needed to find her a playmate who was also a worthy opponent.

It was sad scouring the internet for puppies who needed homes. I find it horrifying how many people can just get rid of their dogs without realizing that they made a lifetime commitment to someone who has no say in what happens to them. One day, they just find themselves in a new place with strangers because their person “didn’t have time” for them.

Anyways, I found a Husky-Pomeranian mix on Craigslist. His owners were trying to get rid of him before they moved, saying that the new place wouldn’t let them have two dogs and they wanted to keep his sister. This is the first photo I ever saw of my boy Jackson:babyjackson

He was so skittish when I went to go see him that it took me 45 minutes to lure him to me with snacks, but as soon as he came close enough for me to touch him, he dove into my arms and wrapped his little paws around my neck like an infant. He made me hold him that way all the way to the pet store, at the pet store, and for an hour after we got home.

So now I had two dogs. They like each other well enough. They clean each other’s faces, chase each other in the yard, and occasionally get into fights. But they missed each other like crazy the few times that they’ve been separated. Life was good; we were a complete family.

As luck would have, though, a few years later, we found a little more room, just enough for a kitten. Now, I am not a cat person at all, but this little kitten followed us home, and it was a frigid day for a scrawny little cat to be outside alone. So I let her sleep in the garage, fed her some chicken and set her up a snuggly little bed to block the draft. She would leave during the day and come back to us at night for food for a while, but one day I saw her blowing snot bubbles out of her nose, which is a thing I have never seen an animal do.

I brought her to the vet. Several hundred dollars later, they told me that she had an upper respiratory tract infection, an ear infection, and a sinus infection, among other things. I had to keep her inside so that I could give her medicine three times a day. I decided that she was there to stay, so my little brother and I picked out a name for her: Katniss. A name from his favorite movie, and I got to continue calling her Cat. Perfect. catselfie

So, with two dogs and a cat, I think that we are full. For now. All three need some special attention, but they are resilient. Casey is so afraid of strangers that she will stress herself sick, so she takes herbal supplements to soothe her on chaotic days. Jackson is a good judge of character, but he likes to bark a lot at new people, just to be sure they’re okay before he becomes their very best friend, which takes all of five minutes. He needs almost constant attention, constant reassurance, and quite a bit of patience; I am almost positive that has something to do with the BB’s that are lodged under his skin. And Cat needs extra help after the confusion of being raised as a dog and living with two crazy dogs.

Everyone needs a little special attention to grow. We’re no different. Thank goodness we have each other.

We Live Here

This is Lavender and Weeds.

It is the space that I have created for myself to come and marvel at all of the beauty and love that I have in my life. I am lucky to have the little family that I have pieced together, I am lucky to have their support in all of my projects and obsessions, and I am lucky to be able to share my little container garden (after years of brown-thumbing it and killing countless, innocent plants, may they rest in peace)

This is part of my little crew, my best friends, and the loves of my life:

crew

It’s not the greatest picture of them, taken in haste on my IPhone while holding treats up to keep them all in one place, but there they all are. Katniss the cat, Mr. Jackson the Pomsky, and Casey the Chimo. All rescues, all perfect in their fluffy little flaws. More about them later.

The thing about life is that it’s never quite what you’d expect, for example: I never thought that I would essentially turn into a sort of Martha Stewart, cat-lady hybrid, but here I am, clipping coupons for cat food and dog food, listening to the dryer running so that I can pull the laundry out before it gets too wrinkled, and discussing gardening and possibly composting with my boyfriend over chicken gumbo at the kitchen table.

Sometimes, the weeds that sprout up between the flowers are just as beautiful. Sometimes, even if you’re not a cat person, a kitten can follow you home and steal a piece of your heart. And, most of the time, life is what happens when you’re least expecting it. More about that later, too. 😉