November 9, 2017

My Authentic Self

In the past week I have been told four times that I am authentic. Four times! And that people like me for it! Prior to this I’m not sure I’ve ever been told that.

The funny thing is that just before each person told me that I am authentic, I had been feeling extremely self-conscious for what I had just gotten done saying.

Then I realized, with each of those situations, I had exposed myself, not literally, but figuratively. I had put it all out there and then envisioned myself ducking out of the way, sheepishly looking in people’s eyes for their disapproval, only to be met with smiles and the words “you are authentic”. Each time I took it as a compliment, but couldn’t help but wonder, why now? Am I not always being my authentic self? Maybe.

Growing up, I was shy. An introvert. (Still am.) I didn’t really put myself out there. I didn’t express my thoughts and opinions on most subjects with anyone other than family and close friends. I was afraid to. I was afraid people wouldn’t like me for those thoughts and opinions and I carried this with me for a long time.

People who were in my inner circles have always known the real me, but people on the periphery? I let them believe whatever their preconceived notion was.

A few years ago (that’s Kate-speak for I have absolutely no recollection when, but know it wasn’t in the recent past) I read something that highlighted the irony of what I’d been doing. I had been sheltering my real thoughts and feelings from most people I would meet, fearing if they knew what I really thought, they wouldn’t like me. I know I said this earlier, but I’m saying it again because the thought is ridiculous. If I was afraid they wouldn’t like me for who I was, why did I want to connect with them in the first place? By doing this, every conversation was uncomfortable because I didn’t say what I really thought, others made assumptions as to what I thought because I hadn’t expressed a difference in opinion in prior conversations and then they made more assumptions that I agreed with everything they said.

At one point in time this happened with my boss. She made assumptions about me, my thoughts and opinions, even my political viewpoints and assumed they were the same as hers, when in reality, I was pretty much on the opposite side of the spectrum, but afraid to speak my mind because I was afraid those differences could effect my relationship with her and ultimately my job. So I let it go on. Until one day I couldn’t. Unfortunately my timing stunk because another co-worker of mine was with us. I probably should have said something when it was just the two of us, but I didn’t. Lunch was going fine until the conversation turned to polítics. This was in the time frame when a woman from Alaska was running for office. My boss thought she was awesome. Me? Not so much. Although I was excited for a woman to be running for office, I thought she had just fallen off the crazy train and I didn’t want her representing me as a woman. So I voiced that. And my boss looked at me as though I had betrayed her. She thought, and assumed, that because I was a woman and because I hadn’t said anything differently in previous conversations, that I was in support of Crazy Train too. It wasn’t true. And I finally spoke my truth. I’m not sure why I waited for that moment. Maybe because my friend was with us, maybe because my soul had been screaming for so long that it couldn’t be silenced any longer, whatever the reason, it came out of me like a cat in a bathtub. And then I felt guilty. Guilty for not saying something earlier, guilty for having what I didn’t say, be a betrayal of friendship and good working relationship. Guilty for not being authentic from the beginning.

That may have been the turning point for me to always honor myself. I would love to say it was a conscious decision, but the reality is that it is something that evolved over time and that particular story had been sitting on a shelf, covered in cobwebs in the back of my mind until I started writing this.

Now I try to be conscious to share my thoughts and opinions and honor who I am, not only with my inner circle, but with everyone.

Being authentic is tough sometimes. It means exposing myself when I don’t know my audience and how they will respond. It means talking when sometimes I would rather not. But it also means I am at peace with myself. I’m being me. Authentically me and that feels good.

Kate

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October 23, 2017

Let’s Talk About The Weather

I often wonder if talking about the weather is a normal thing or if it’s just a Minnesota thing. I’ve made assumptions that in Minnesota we talk about the weather in our daily conversations because at one point in time most of our state was farmland and it impacted the farmer’s lively hood (and still does for the farms that still exist.) But for the rest of us, who live in other more urban parts of the state, I assume that talking about the weather is one of those things that got handed down from previous generations like lopping-off the end of the ham before putting it in the pan only to find out years later that the only reason your mom lopped-off the end of the ham was because she didn’t have a pan that was big enough to fit the whole ham.

Or is it simply that living in Minnesota brings weather that makes you think a toddler is controlling the thermostat (85°, 45°, 75°, snowing!) and talking about it is like therapy.

Whatever the case, we tend to talk about the weather a lot in Minnesota, particularly during the change of seasons… or when it’s cold, or hot, or windy, or rainy. So basically every day.

Oh, and when a storm is brewing? “Weather” is coming. As if weather only comes on occasion, like an annoying relative you really prefer wouldn’t visit. Ever.

In the Twin Cities we’ve just had a beautiful, unseasonably warm, week of 75 degree days. It has been absolutely gorgeous! Tie that in with the peak fall colors and it really couldn’t have been any better. This season is so beautiful, it really is the primary reason I stay in the state. Seriously, if you’ve never been here in late September or early October, put it on your bucket list to visit. It’s also peak apple harvest, which makes it even better.

But as they say, all good things must come to an end. And it just so happens, I heard today that weather is coming. Yep. Not-so-great uncle Jack is making his way into town from Canada. And some of us, primarily from the Gardener side of the family, don’t really care so much for the Frost side of the family so we are less than excited about his arrival. But what’s worse than uncle frost is that I heard he might be bringing cousin Snow with him.

Seriously, I swear they were just here! I don’t know why they have to come back so soon. Why couldn’t they stay with North Dakota or Wisconsin this year?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate them, per se, and not everyone in our state dislikes them as much as us Gardeners. My son, for example, who obviously got most of his genes from the Skiier side of the family, actually like Jack and Snow. He loves it when they are here. Not me. I’m good with a short stay and then they could continue on, but every single time they come they stay forever. They don’t know when to leave!

But I guess there is one good thing about them… at least they give us something to talk about.

Til next time,

Kate

October 20, 2017

23 Minutes

I’ve been yearning to write again for a while. And by write, I mean here, on my blog. Or maybe a book, but that takes time. I don’t have much of that these days. I mean, we all have the same amount of time in a day, but the time I have to myself each day is very limited. When you have young kids that happens. My alarm clock says, “Momma!” and it goes off at very inconsistent times each day. Once I’m up, I have a little body with me at my side (or on my hip) nearly every minute of every day; while I dress, take a shower, even while I pee.

So when I say I don’t have much time alone, I really mean it. And to have time alone to write? Ha! Haha! Bwahaha!!! But wait.

No, it’s late.

But it’s quiet. Everyone is sleeping. I could write now, like I used to.

But you didn’t have to tend to a teen and a toddler when you used to write. Besides, being a night owl writer is no place for a Momma. Or is it the other way around? Okay, fine. You’ve got 23 minutes.

What could I possibly write in 23 minutes?

You won’t know until you try it. Let’s see what you can do.

Maybe there’s something to this though. Maybe if I could write for 23 minutes each day… who am I kidding, some days, one day(?!) a week I could dust off some of the cobwebs, loosen up the joints and work some of the rust out. Maybe, this becomes the 23 minute blog?

Maybe.

No seriously, maybe I could start to find that girl who used to write. She’s a little older now.

A little?!

Shut it. Yes, a little older. But the baby is nearly 3 and I just read that as a mom you should take 15 minutes a day for yourself to do something you enjoy. This would be an extra 8 minutes.

Over achiever.

Whatever. I think I might try this. 23 minutes. I might be a fun experiment. I’m sure some days will be thin. Some may have writers block. I’m going to try it. We’ll see where it takes us.

Til next time.

Kate

April 23, 2017

Revamp, Renew, Revive (a.k.a. – What The Cats Left Behind)

Sometimes we can dream, make plans and see our dreams come to fruition, but then a couple of cats come along and sabotage our dreams in a flash.

As a landscape designer, I’ve been trained to try and plan for everything when designing a site; accessibility, location, exposure, sight lines, potential hazards, storage, screening, water, fire, gardens, pets, allergies… the list goes on.  Somehow, in the years I’ve been doing this, I was never trained to envision that new cats will move into the neighborhood 4 or 5 years down the road and use your dream project as a toilet.

Unfortunately, it happens and it has happened.  I’ve been gardening for many years and have had rabbits destroy plants, squirrels steal fruits and veggies to take a bite out of them and leave them behind and deer do pruning for me. While all of those things are annoying, it is nothing like finding your neighbor’s cats’ waste in the space that you grow food in. It is infuriating, disgusting, repulsing and when you have a young child, dangerous to their health.

When I discovered the cat mess in my garden, I knew immediately I needed to stop this from happening again, but in the back of my mind I also knew the damage had already been done and can’t be fixed so I would need to come up with a new plan. I know for a fact these cats kill birds and rodents on a regular basis so the likelihood of the cats having toxoplasmosis is pretty high, meaning it’s also in their poo and likely in our garden now.

So what am I going to do about it? Revamp, renew and revive.

I’ll be honest, when I first started thinking about how to handle this, my first thought was to gather the poo and deliver it to my neighbor’s doorstep, but I didn’t think that would be appropriate or make for a very good neighbor relationship. It could be argued that neither is moving into a new neighborhood behind a nature center, feeding the birds and then letting your cats out to kill the birds, spray your neighbor’s house and use their garden as a litter box, but I digress. Poo delivery is out.

I also thought about fencing, but we already have a privacy fence around the back yard and since we live on a corner, we are restricted on both the height and location of the fence, not to mention fences can be costly.  Plus, a fence in front of a fence wouldn’t look so hot and… cats can jump. Fencing is out.

I thought about putting a deterrent spray or powder around the garden, but I would have to be diligent about applying it in order to (hopefully) keep them out.  Not what I want to spend my summer doing. Spraying is out.

I thought about getting a motion activated sprinkler, but I know myself.  I would sit there smugly thinking I’ve got them, evil laugh to myself envisioning the cats being startled, hair standing on end and getting sprayed and then promptly forget that the sprinkler is on and end up being the recipient of the cold blast of water instead of my neighbor’s cats.  Sprinkler is out.

Finally, I settled on the plan I was really dragging my feet on… move the garden.  It’s hard to say goodbye to 5 years of planning, planting and work, but it really seems like the best option. It’s time to revamp the front garden and move the food to the back yard.

So the new plan for the front is to leave the honey berry, currants and perennials where they are and turn the veggie space into a cutting flower garden. This will allow the space to be utilized for something attractive and still stay in line with my chemical-free “bee safe” yard and better yet, turn it into a pollinators paradise.  My loss turns into a win for the pollinators.  I call that a win-win.

On to the renewal and revival!  The back yard garden was all but abandoned over the past few years with my energy being focused on the front yard garden, pregnancy, new baby and lack of time. Now that I’m past the initial anger of the situation, and our newest is old enough to hang out with me in the garden, I’m really embracing the revival of our back yard.

Here’s a little peak as to what I’m doing with the raised beds. Any guesses?

20170423_160057

More on that in the near future!

Happy spring, happy planting and cheers to an abundant season!

Kate

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