New Orleans, Part 2.

New Orleans, Part 2.
—or—
Noms & Dranks, of course.

A preface:

New Orleans is a touristy place. As someone who is from a touristy place (Asheville) I understand just how miserable it can be to deal with tourists. I try to never act like a tourist even when I am one.

It is also worth noting that I pretty much ALWAYS look like I’m on vacation. I wear bright, bold, tropical colors, lots of beads, big earrrings, boho bag bedecked in dangling key chains, and I carry a fan. I’ve been at this as long as I can remember. {Also, since when did tourists start carrying fans? Dang jerks have copped my doom-hippie style. I digress.} It’s okay to be a tourist. It’s NOT okay to go to place that is not yours and expect it to cater to your needs. If you want “normal food” just go to Applebee’s. Don’t get wasted-face and act like you’ve never been to a bar before. Over-tip your servers, even if they seem distant–they’ve likely been dealing with jerk tourists.

There are like one millions great places to eat and drink in New Orleans. Just ask someone–they will tell you their favorites.  Ain’t nobody got time for Pat O’Briens. You ARE allowed to go to Cafe DuMonde. It really is worth it. (FYI just grab a table–DO NOT stand in the stupid line!!!) Unless you’re going to LaFitte’s Blacksmith Shop you can pretty much bypass Bourbon Street. Or you can walk down it to gawk at those 8 blocks of horror. Anyway… I’m going to tell you about some places that I love. If you go there, you better not act like a jerk. Okay? Okay. Now take notes because you’re gonna want to remember these.

[Don’t forget, all text in BOLD ITALICS is a clickable link to more info!!!}

LaFITTE’S BLACKSMITH SHOP:

It’s the oldest bar in America. You should go there.

Get a margarita or a Purple Drink. Don’t ask, just do it.

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Margaritas are made with out that NASTY mixer stuff–very refreshing.

BUD RIP’S

Located in the Bywater.

Kinda hipster but welcomed my mom and people with dogs.

Great daily drink specials ($3-$5) and fresh flowers on the bar.

Free oysters {and set ups!} on Saturday afternoons.

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Always tip yer shucker, sucker.

HANSEN’S:

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You get to sit on that metal bench and destroy your frozen delight.

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{photo credit, MOM <3}

Here is what my mom posted on Facebook after her first Sno-Bliz:

“There Are No Shortcuts to Quality” is the motto of Hansen’s Sno-Bliz. Today was the day I had my first sno-ball ever. It was fluffy. It was pink. The softest shaved ice ever. Cream of nectar syrup, crushed pineapple, vanilla ice cream buried in the shaved ice, marshmallow fluff. The “Jr Atomic” looks like a mushroom cloud and is perhaps an immature thing for a woman my age to order, but I will do it again…and again…given the chance! Oh, and a cherry on top. (This was a recommendation from The Book.)

I would wax poetic about this but really just go to their website and read their story. Then at your very next convenient moment, you should go there. Like, drive from Texas or North Carolina or Oregon and don’t even stop at your hotel, just go immediately there. Get the Junior Atomic with Nectar. If you tell them it’s your first you *might* get a tiny American flag tooth pick and sprinkles on your. Or maybe I just looked like such a tourist fangirl that I got those things.

Southern Food & Beverage Museum 
also home of the Museum of the American Cocktail

This museum has a little section on food from all southern states.
You can get a drink at the bar and drink it while you browse.
You encouraged to TOUCH a lot of the gadgets/items on display.

There were even DOLLS, y’all.

You may (probably not, LOL) remember the doll on the left from this post. I tried to buy a doll just like this and had drama (click to read about if ya wanna). At least now I know “who she is” and can try to buy one someday! The doll on the right is a Chiquita banana promotion. Aren’t they both just dreamy?

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From the Museum of the American Cocktail.

There is also a pretty major cocktail napkin collection (way more than what you see here) and y’all know how much I love paper napkins.

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CENTRAL GROCERY
Muffulettas y’all.
HOT TIP: you can get them without meat–hooray!

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photo credit–MOM ❤

Now let’s talk about Po-boy’s.

There are two places that I have had magical po-boys. It is possible that I was spoiled/warped by having the sandwich at these two places early on in my NO tenure. I’m sure there are other great places out there, but after several very mediocre experiences I would rather just get to the source and bypass sadfaces.

If you want to take the sandwich to eat on the grass by the river:
VERTI MART
{FUN FACT: I love this sandwich so much I have considered naming a child Verti}
The fried oyster seems a bit pricey but you will not regret it.

If you want to eat at a table with a plate:
COOP’S
I’d advise to go early or for lunch (they get slammed and there’s a line).
It’s worth noting that you gotta be 21 to enter, even to just eat.

 

A couple of more places you might want to check out for drinks:
In the Quarter:

Molly’s at the Market: cold AC, cheap drinks, across from the market (obvs)
Erin Rose : cheap drinks, superior juke box, po-boys (heard they’re good)
SoBou : fancy but great happy hour, sometimes pool is open to public

In the Bywater:
Mimi’s: restaurant with bar menu & “trust me” order option, great happy hour
Marie’s: cold AC, CHEAP drinks, old bar flies

And if you need some PIZZA—->Pizza Delicious…lawdy.

AND 2 MOARRRR THINGS:

There are two places I went on this trip that were pretty random but SUPER fun. One was a gourmet soft drink store and the other was a giant mardi gras bead warehouse. The soft drink store is called Rocket Fizz and is a chain that sells weird drinks and candies. My doll club likes to get strange soft drinks to sample so this was a gold mine of delight. Once we drink the ones I bought I will report back on the flavors I got–they included: Churro Burro, Faygo Rock & Rye, Peanut Butter, Grass, Ranch, and Fog. Yup. You read those right. I took some suggestions from a little boy who was about 8 years old who had come in several different times with his family. He seemed like an expert.

The other place was called The Mardi Gras Spot which is a GIANT warehouse of all kinds of beads and stuff to throw in parades. If you love beads and parasols you gotta get there. A lot of store warehouses like this charge admission just to go shop (like $15 >:P ) so this one is a great place that you can go for free. The prices are very reasonable and CHEAP when compared to out of town shopping. They also carry glass beads!

WHEW!
That’s a LOT of info but I hope you enjoyed it!

Be sure to check out New Orleans, Part 1. and my YouTube Amtrak video!

See you soon with the last post about the trip:
New Orleans, Part 3: For Mr Smith

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YouTube train video is up!!!

Hey everyone!

I wanted to make sure everyone has gotten to see my video that is up on YouTube! It’s all footage I took while I rode the Amtrak. I’m still plugging away at two more post about the New Orleans trip AND a pretty epic TINY TUESDAY so be sure to keep checking back for more fun stuff!

CLICK THIS RIGHT HERE TO WATCH!!!!

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I’ll be back in a jiffy with more good stuff for y’all!

New Orleans, Part 1.

New Orleans, Part 1.
The train, “The Book”, and the Trinity.

As you know from THIS post, I recently took the Amtrak to New Orleans to vacation with my mother. The last time I took a long train ride like this was in 2004 when I went with my mom from PA to NYC after I graduated from college. So it had been a minute since I traveled this way.

The picture below doesn’t really do justice to JUST HOW WEIRD IT WAS to go at 2:30am to what seems like an abandoned train track and feel like it was either a murder in the making or an episode of candid camera. Big props to Mr. Smith for taking me there, staying with me, and not being too weirded out! After the boarding time came and went with NO TRAIN, I checked the Amtrak website and discovered the train was delayed by an hour. And sure enough, pretty much right at 4:15am, a GIANT train with at least ten cars stopped in Gastonia for just little ol me.

It felt straight up like the Knight Bus in Harry Potter.

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They were out of cheese pizza.

The train trip was AWESOME. I absolutely recommend traveling this way if you have some flexibility in your travel time (ie, don’t need to get somewhere in a short amount of time). The trip took about 17 hours (that went SO FAST) but would have taken at least 11 by plane (with the tickets that I could afford–one way tickets were over $400). The coach seats were VERY big and reclined way more than the 1.5 inches on a plane. The staff was really helpful and friendly. The bathrooms were a little gross, but so are most public bathrooms, right? I’m calling it $135 very well spent. When I travel this way again the only thing I will do differently is to pack some sneaky beverages of my own and more food from home. As long as you eat in your seat and not the dining car, they don’t mind you bringing your own noms. I’ll also check for delays before I leave home.

Let’s talk briefly about what has become known as “The Book.” This is not to be confused with “The Good Book”– it is a delightful love letter to the food and drink of New Orleans and the people who make it possible. I stumbled upon The Book on an end cap at the public library in Gastonia. The cover caught my eye and the book flap blurb sounded like it might be worth a read.

In all honesty, I get nervous about books that have to do with New Orleans, and really, Louisiana in general. Cliches abound and are both powerful and painful. The Book, Gumbo Tales ended up pleasing me in a way that only James Lee Burke has in recent years. My nerves quickly melted in to relief as I read and knew that author Sara Roahen “got it”. That’s all I will say about The Book besides that if you are a n00b or a native, Roahen is likely to show you some places that will make your face, taste-buds, and tummy smile.

Carrying on!

Besides the obvious food & drinks, my favorite parts of New Orleans can be described as The Trinity. Graffiti, cats, and people are probably my other favorite things about New Orleans. They are everywhere and they are like no where else. Here are some pictures and snippets of The Trinity from this trip.

GRAFFITI:

There were a few tags that my eye kept seeing all over town. While I didn’t get pictures of any of them they’re still worth a mention so you can look for them if you’re around. DUKY (while I wish it was pronounced “Duckie” like my cat, I imagine it’s “dookie” like Green Day but whatevs), REZNOR (again with the 90’s ref), ACHOO and READ. I’m not sure if it’s by the same person as the READ around town but you gotta check this out—–>  This piece is freaking huge–seriously, click here to see it.

Now for some I saw and documented!

I kept seeing these wonderful clusters of koi all over the Bywater.

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I know that is NOT a Horn Worm, but I totally thought it was at first glance :O

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CATS!

Y’all all know how much I love puds, and to be totally honest, I thought I’d end up bringing a batch of swamp kittens home with me. Mr. Smith better be glad I didn’t find any! Unfortunately, the pictures I got of the Bywater cats are pretty far away. These are definitely feral cats that wouldn’t let me get ANY closer. I gave them plenty of space and they seemed to enjoy being talked to.

While feral cats give me little bit of a sad attack, I was glad to see that in most of the groups I saw at least a few had notched ears (a sign on spay/neuter). If you don’t know much about TNR (Trap/Neuter/Realease) and feral populations you really gotta check out The Kitten Lady. She is one of my s-heroes and her outreach has helped me feel better about ferals.

I circled all the cats in yellow so you could find them! If you don’t see them in the circle it’s because they were behind posts. The red circle is a pile of leaf trash and not a cat 🙂

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I DID get to pet this cat! Doesn’t she look like she could be Patti Smith’s sister?

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PEOPLE:

While I don’t take pictures of too many people, I do love the less obtrusive art of watching/hearing/seeing/smelling them. Not everyone is friendly all of the time, but most people are helpful, even the street car drivers. Once people can feel your affection for their city you are likely to be brought in to the fold–I won’t wax poetic about all that–if you know it, you know it. Speaking of, it was so good to see my old pal Hedges who is a transplant from Chicago but has been a tour guide down in the quarter for years.  Be sure to check him out here! He will let you in on lots of interesting facts AND the best places to eat and drink. You’ll want to put him on speed-dial…wait, is that even a thing anymore? Oh yeah, he also does plays.

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People filing in for the ‘Theater of the Absurd’ at The Mudlark.

20170715_175237_LIStay tuned for the next installment of my New Orleans adventuring. I’m trying to convince my mom to do a guest post or two telling about her nearly month long adventure down there. What do you think? Wanna hear from her? Comment down below!

If you CLICK HERE you can see my Instagram account where I posted a BUNCH of pictures from the trip. I’m trying not to re-post the same stuff across all these accounts, so definitely go check out the stuff I have posted there.  Also, I am WORKING HARD at trying to edit a little movie of video footage I took so stay tuned for that, too!

Victory Garden 2k17: Update #6

Hello garden pals!
How adorable is this picture I found while in New Orleans?
You KNOW I love the little girl with her DOLL in the dang garden 🙂
And their hair-dos!
I just HAD to share this in a garden update!

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I told y’all I was about to go on vacation–
–here is what the garden looked like right before:

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Here is what I harvested!

When I got back from my trip the tomato plants on the deck were looking pitiful and NOT because Mr. Smith wasn’t doing a good job. They were already starting to struggle before I left.

Soooooooo…

After some more research and advice from my horti-pals, I am pretty sure my tomatoes are splitting from not holding enough water in the plants. I water everyday but I think it pretty much just runs through the bottom of the buckets. I started the pots with the hope that I could put them in a (to-be constructed) small green house and keep them through the winter. I still may do this, but at the suggestion of a friend I have moved them to the ground in the hopes that the water holds better and the fruit stops splitting.

HENCE:
Old Location.

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New Location.

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I left the chocolate cherries on the deck because they seem to be doing just fine where they are. Fingers crossed the move for the rest will help the plants not be so stressed. Stay tuned for updates on that!

ALSO:

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The mystery pepper/tomato plants are DEFINITELY tomatoes. While the leaves are looking a little more “tomatoey” they still look more like pepper leaves to me!!! When I was giving away seedlings they looked JUST like peppers. There is a dang tomato on the plant tho so they are brandywine after all!!!

And in other garden news:

Y’all. I finally decided to dig up some of the potatoes. After The Great Horn Worm Incident of 2017 I was worried about what, if anything, was lurking below the dirt’s surface. I was also getting ready to be gone for a week on that vacation so I just went for it. Below are the results!!!! All the potatoes you see came from the pot that had been attacked. I just put the reeeally tiny ones in a tiny bowl to be super cute.

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There is actually video footage of me digging up the potatoes and it is SO FUNNY but I’m honestly not sure if I can post it on my youtube channel because it also has a CONSTANT almost panty-shot of me. You never actually *see* anything at all but I’m not having much luck getting it to blur out in editing without it seeming to look even worse than it really is! LESSON LEARNED!!! There IS another pot of potatoes to harvest and the next time I will do better with my clothes. I promise.

How are your plants doing as the temps keep rising?

Have you grown Brandywine tomatoes before?

What are you harvesting this week?

Stay tuned for more!

 

 

Happy Friendiversary Patti Smith!

Happy FriendaCativersay  Patti Smith!

It is absolutely crazy to believe that it’s been FOUR years since Patti found me. I was just reminiscing the other day about how when Patti and I would travel together she LOVED to stick her head out the window at fast food restaurants on the road and smell the burger smells wafting! Poor thing–it must be hard having a vegetarian as a care taker.

Here are some of my favorite pictures of Patti from the past year. Much like my old cat Stella (RIP) Patti is RIDICULOUSLY photogenic, so I *could* post a hundred pictures in this post but I will try to restrain my cat-lady side and only pick 8.

Patti is a very typical cat in that she lives by the motto “if I fits, I sits”. If there is a bag, box, magazine, or folded piece of clothing, she WILL lay on it. Especially if it is one of Mr. Smith’s black work shirts. Here she is, trying not to let the cat out of the bag.

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Here is Patti trying to steal all the PopTarts and hot sauce. Mr. Smith sent this picture to me while he was being a bachelor during a trip my mom and I took to New Orleans last summer. Mr. Smith is a very good sport when it comes to my (I mean, OUR) cats!

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Here is Patti supervising my  2017 Cleveland County Fair “soon-to-be-award-winning” entry in the sweater category. She really likes it when I knit striped things.

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Here she is telling me where I should place the next patch on my punk quilt. She told me to use more neon thread. She says the colors aren’t bright enough!

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Patti says, “LOOK! I found some neon string you can use!!!!”

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Two pictures showing Patti’s favorite pose:
“The Patti Smith pose”
{which reminds me of the cover of Patti Smith Group’s album Wave}

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Patti attempts to look through the dang curtain that thwarts her outdoor surveillance.
{note Muses glitter duck, DokiDoki crate, and my favorite ‘wine’ glass}

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BONUS PATTI MATERIAL!!!!

Be sure to check out this little video of Patti playing with my fidget spinner …any time I start spinning one she comes over and watches it and waits patiently for me to put it on the floor and let her have a turn!

Also be sure to check out this post where I tell about how Patti came to be my kitten!

I love my Chicken Patti more than I used to love chicken patties!
(equivalent to the over-used & obnoxious “to the moon and back” haha)

 ❤ Yay for kittens who turn in to fur-ever friends ❤

 

2017 To-Do List Re-visited!

Click here to read my original post from January!

What have I gotten done so far this year?!

NOTE: I am totally at this VERY MOMENT writing this blog post from the Amtrak Crescent Line Train and am currently somewhere about an hour south of Atlanta. What a dream come true! Read on to see what progress I have made on the annual TO-DO list!

1.GROW A BIG GARDEN. I think I have done pretty well with this one! 20170627_102227-1.jpgMy garden this year has definitely been the biggest I’ve had in about 12 years. I put a lot of thought in to what I wanted to plant—->i.e. what I want to EAT!  Mr. Smith and I eat a LOT of lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, and potatoes. It was too late to plant the onions and garlic (but those are definitely on the TO-DO list for fall!!!) but I planted all the rest of those foods.  Marked off the to-do list? YES!

2. FINISH TEE SHIRT QUILT.
20160527_125725That is a big NO. But look at how sweet Patti was when she sat on it and helped supervise me the last time I worked on it! Honestly, I just haven’t been feeling the quilting much this year, even when it was cool out. My crafty feelings ebb and flow though, so I’m sure I’ll come back around to it…maybe by the end of the year and in time to check it off the list, lol.

3. RIDE BIKES WITH MR. SMITH TO THE MCFADDEN FARM. IMG_20170429_091330While I have certainly not achieved this EXTREMELY lofty goal, for the purpose of this to-do list I’m going to call it a SORTA…just look at that snazzy bike though! Mr. Smith built me that totally gorgeous bike and I have been going on the weekly ride through Gastonia that Ride-A-Bike hosts. The ride is about 9 miles long, and while that is certainly not 45 mountainous miles, it is something!

4. READ 50 BOOKS. I secretly thought I would reach this goal by mid year but I haven’t– I might by the end of summer though! So far I’ve read 37 books in 2017 . I’m gonna call this a YES since I am well on my way to hitting the original goal, but lets bump the year end goal to 75. I’m a wild woman, so sue me XD

5. GO ON A TRAIN RIDE. Ya’ll. I just told you that I am writing this ON A TRAIN AS I TYPE, right?! Besides this ride,Also, Mr. Smith bought us tickets (as a birthday present for me!!) to ride the Great Smokey Mountain Railroad later this summer. We’ve been trying to do this for about a year and finally found a date that works for us, is on the steam engine train we want to ride, and isn’t The Polar Express XD (it IS actually kinda complicated, lol)!

6. PURGE THE DOOM SHACK.
Ughhhhh. The Doom Shack. I’ve actually made some pretty good progress on this one. While it is certainly not as much as I would like to have gotten done, it’s something.  I made a goal for myself at the beginning of the summer to take a load of stuff to donate once a week and I’ve pretty well kept to that so I’ll call this a SORTA. I think it’s also progress worth noting that I’m even ready to get rid of some of this stuff. I’m getting there.

7. SET UP THE POUT HAUS. This one is a SORTA. AGAIN, I haven’t made as much progress as I would have liked, but in all honestly, things are moving right along. Once I get back from vacation, my SOLE priority is getting this place READY…ready for doll parties AND art projects AND YouTube filming AND pile sorting AND time traveling…you know, the usual stuff.

8. KEEP UP THE BLOG. This one is a small yes. I think I’ve been doing okay with this goal. My first year in the school system took some getting used to and this coming 2nd year is bringing some new exciting challenges. I hope to be a bit better so I’m giving myself a quantitative goal: one post per week. Hold me to it! At the very TINY I least need to keep up Tiny Tuesday!

9. HELP ANIMALS IN NEED. I had hoped to have accomplished more with this but it hasn’t happened yet (so I’m gonna call this a no). Pretty much the only thing I have done so far is donate eight old pillows to my local shelter to use as bedding.  There may still be time to foster some kittens once I get back from New Orleans. I *really* want to foster a litter of kittens.

10. KEEP TRYING 2-D ART. This is a work in progress just like the rest! I’m doodling here and there and definitely still going to Journal Junkies so I will call this a yes! I’m so glad I started this goal. A big thanks to Miss See at my school for the encouragement!

There were a few additions:

EDC BAG. I HAVE (that’s a YES) put together a little EDC set up for my truck! I was going to do a post about it on here but I may turn it into a YouTube video instead! Don’t worry–I’ll definitely let y’all know when I do. Everyone should have at LEAST a small “every day carry” bag with life essentials for emergencies.

SAVE the $$$.  Ehhhh, let’s call this a sorta. The idea is implemented I just hope to do more of it, always.

Learn to ID trees. A big NOPE. Maybe someday.

MID YEAR UPDATE.  YES! Of course I accomplished this one! What do you think THIS is?! 🙂

Now for more coffee! I’m going to watch the world roll by on this train ride!

Victory Garden 2k17: Update #5–THE WORM {rated R for language}

If you follow me on social media, you have undoubtedly heard about my recent run in with terror. I had no idea that I was afraid of ANYTHING–but I certainly am. Y’all. I am officially full blown TERRIFIED of horn worms. If you do not know what one is, count yourself lucky.

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It all started as an innocent enough Saturday morning. I went out on the Victory Deck Garden to check on my plants as I do most mornings. Everything looked normal–nothing was amiss. Around 10:30 am EST I went out on the deck to start the dye bath for my tie dye sheets project (see this post). That was when I realized something was WRONG. One of my potato buckets was practically stripped of ALL HER LEAVES! I immediately began searching for culprits. I found none. I texted two horticulture expert friends and posted on FaceBook…one of them said:

“I’m not positive, but potatoes are in the same family as tomatoes, this could be the work of tomato hornworms…”

The other friend said, “Definitely hornworms- they are green and as thick as your thumb. Look on the undersides of remaining leaves. They are really good at hiding.”

So I LAID DOWN ON MY BACK to look under the leaves…and then I saw it. HOLY JESUS SWEET MOTHER OF MARY MY DEAR LORD. Only that is NOT what I said. Can you picture it?! Me, struck with terror, screaming while flinging myself away from the pots of devil worms, heart pumping out of my chest like Jim Carrey in The Mask?!?! Did I mention I was screaming? I’m sure my friends in Missouri could hear me. I was THAT loud.

I cut the leaf off that held the DREADED SPAWN OF SATAN and flung the leaf and worm with the scissors into a giant dust pan. After searching and finding ANOTHER one, I was satisfied that was all of them and I took the dustpan FULL OF DOOM and flung the contents into my neighbor’s pasture.

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Then I had this revelation:

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A week later I was left with this withered, traumatized tater.

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I thought that was all. I thought I couldn’t be any more grossed out than I already was. “Friends” posted horrorshows of horn worm GIFs on my social media pages. Mr. Smith laughed at me. Even my mother told me I was over the top. And then I received this postcard from one of the previously mentioned horticulture nerds.

“Oh that is so cute and so true,” I thought.
Then I turned the card over.

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Leslie, you are a hilarious mean girl if ever there was one.

So ends (I PRAY) my tale of horn worm woe.

Have you experienced a horn worm nightmare? Have you also done battle with Satan’s Magic Eye Devil Spawn Pet?! If so, please do chime in a tell us all about it. I mean, we’re never going to sleep again anyway so we might as well get all the gory details out in the open!

❤ ❤ ❤

 

YOUTUBE!!!!

Hey y’all!!!

I’M ON YOUTUBE!!!!

If you’re friends with me on Facebook you’ve probably already been bombarded with the news. I have absolutely NO idea what all I’m going to end up posting, much less how often it will happen once school is back in session BUT so far I have three videos up for your viewing pleasure. I’m playing around with doing vlog-style annotations to some of my blog posts on here to kind of beef up this content as well.

One lame thing is that I would have to pay extra to embed video through this platform sooooo I’m gonna be super goofy and screenshot my videos and embed a link you can click. I’m thrifty (CHEAP) like that. Once I start making my millions on YouTube I will totally pay for the embedding feature. Kidding about the millions.

CLICK RIGHT HERE!!!

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So yeah, go check me out! Subscribe and comment and all that stuff YouTubers are always saying. Because I am totally a YouTuber now!

❤ ❤ ❤

Another little bit of my cancer story. Part 2: Happy 5 years cancer-FREE to me!

Has it really been FIVE YEARS?

It seems like it can’t have been that long, and yet it has been.

A couple of weeks ago had my six month cancer check up. Everything looked good on the inside — I felt a sense of relief a knowing there is nothing “in there” that wasn’t supposed to be. Last week I got the rest of my results back; my CA-125 is well with in range, and my other tests came back clear. So now I breathe a sigh of relief that I have made it another six months without abnormalities.

For those of you who manage to miss my semi-annual posts about my ordeal: I was diagnosed with stage 1-A ovarian cancer in 2012, just as I turned 30 years old. For some people it is genetic, but I am fortunate that mine was just a short straw of life that I managed to pull. I had had regular lady doctor check ups since age 19–my last only 4 months before I had symptoms. Speaking of symptoms, they are varied and can seem like no big deal: upset stomach, diarrhea, bloating, having to pee all the time–the things women deal with a lot of the time withOUT cancer.

This is where I beg you. Again.

I tell you this to BEG YOU, PLEASE, take care of yourself. Whether you are 17 or 27 or 67 you are never too young to have something happen to you. I don’t mean to be alarmist, I mean to ask you to LISTEN to yourself, to your body. If you think something is wrong PLEASE don’t ignore it and hope it will just go away. Doing NOTHING is never as good as doing something…that applies to pretty much everything in life.

The thing about cancer, even the treatable/curable kind, is that it shows you who your true friends are. I still remember each and every one of you who showed me kindness through visits, cards, phone calls, and prayers. I remember you all and you have no idea what your kindness meant and still means to me. For those of you who didn’t–well, I remember you, too. I hope you never have to be in the same lonely situation I was in. Surviving cancer activates a seriously low tolerance for bullshit.

I’ve been sorting through boxes of random piles of my life’s accumulations and came across a stack of thank you cards I wrote names (and some addresses) on during the time I was recuperating. While this is not a list that covers everyone I could thank, I thought I would share these pictures of the cards and thank you again, five years later.

{I guess I’ll keep the cards and use them for something else since I never wrote in any of them and probably all the addresses for people are different since we all move like every 3 years… XD }

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Thank you, Annette!                                    Thank you White Girls!

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Thank you, Anna!                                       Thank you, Mary Jo!

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Thank you, Kelsey!                                            Thank you Ben & Sara!

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Thank you, Meredith!                                                  Thank you, Lance!

Thank you to so many others–I’ve hesitated to make lists for fear of leaving someone out. There were so many people who were kind to me during that time, but my memory is also a little fuzzy since I *was* on pain killers there for a bit.

Thank you to all that visited me in the hospital, at home, gave me helpful advice, and helped support my mom:  Tracie, Jonathon, Amanda & DubbNubb, MJ, Chris, Lacy, MaryAnn, Mandi & Geof, Hedges, Troy, Bobbie, Angela, Joseph…the list goes on in my heart.

I just stumbled on another post I started last year after my June check up.

Here are some pretty flowers I saw as I was leaving my appointment. It’s incredibly cliche, but I try to take the time to notice and appreciate all sorts of beauty around me. I’m better at this some days than others, but I continue to strive for it, no matter.

 

Click here to read a little more about my story.

If you have any questions about my experience please ask. I’m an open book. If you don’t feel comfortable asking on this post then please feel free to message me privately.

Take care of yourself and help others as much as you can.

Be kind to yourself and be kind to others, always.