~Free Stuffs~

I’m in the middle of stepping up my “goods” on Etsy.  By stepping up I mean my arms are falling off from working on full sized blankets, cable knitted scarves, and snazzy things that take lots of work.  And all of this takes oddles of time.

While I’m taking oddles of time to make all of these detailed, anal retentive type objects, I’m working away in the mornings on basic items to fill my shop.  Because you can’t sell things if there’s nothing to sell, and yada yada yada.

And this is where the Free Stuffs come in.  While all this madness is going on I need to still consider promotions, getting my name out there and stuffs.  ‘Cept between everything else I seem to be running out of “free” time in which to promote.  So I’m turning to you, and waving free stuffs in front of your nose.  😉

I have these:



That are getting ready to enter my shop soon.  They are 100% cotton, hand knit, workout/yoga headbands.  Less than 2 inches wide, these are more like the nylon ones you’d buy at the store, than the big thick ear warmers you normally see.  The cotton is gentle on hair, and absorbs sweat, while fully washable.  The cinch part can go on the top of your head, or at the back of your head, depending on your tastes.

I’m looking for a few bloggers who’d like to try one out in the color of their choice, then blog them up, and possibly (possibly meaning reviews and blogging them up with no giveaway is fine too) give one away to their readers.  You don’t personally need to pick one out for you!  It can be for your daughter, grand daughter, whomever.

If you’d like more information please feel free to contact me at jemily383 (at) gmail (dot) com.

Thanks!  *hurries back to work*


I’m Cancelling Summer


I couldn’t be more excited.  I’m cancelling summer!  Yup, you read that right… I’m cancelling the whole dang thing!

Okay, so I’m not actually cancelling the season known as summer, that would be crazy talk, and it’s my favorite season.  I’m cancelling MY summer, my demands, my expectations, my normal go-to plans.

I’m calling off the usual spring rush of starting seedlings, and buying new chicks. I’m calling off summer camp for the boy.  I’m calling off the massive dreams of finally fixing up our yard.  Done.  Deleted.  Ain’t gonna happen.

I’m letting the sunny days free fly around here.  We’re gonna do, or we’re gonna do not.  We’ll sip lemonade, and not worry about catching that dang bus for summer camp.  We’ll roll in the grass, and practice our taekwando moves in the sprinkler.

I’m going to play in my garden, and flip the bird to the dang drought we’ve been predicted to have, once again.  No buying seed, no buying plants.  It’s a season to create pretty walkways, and fences, and dance with the kids.

We’ll doodle in notebooks, and color with chalk on the driveway.  We’re gonna grill, and burn our tongues on marshmallows.  That ugly coop, it will get finished someday, and when it does, we’re gonna paint murals in it, with finger paints… because we can.

I’m going to create.  And I’m going to have that date with me, under that big shade tree, while I throw that stupid to-do list into the bonfire.  Because I am cancelling summer.




What If

I’ve been thinking a lot lately.  That’s the kind of thing that happens while you sit at your desk, knitting until your fingers and wrists go numb, watching millions of images load ever so slowly on your dino-dial-ups for Pintrest.  There’s been topics fluttering in my mind, words to mash out on this blank screen… but knitting doesn’t work well with typing.  You loose your count and your train of thought all at one time.  Trust me.

And it’s hard to work on this, when you need to work on that.  Priorities wrestle with wants.  Needs fling mud at desires.  Options and choices wrestle in the jello pit that once was a functional brain.  Everything fights you, time, budgets, noises, small people wanting things.

It’s like the first time I looked into selling handmade goods on Etsy, they say, “Choose one medium”.  Choose one.  Like that’s possible for me.  I can knit, crochet, draw, paint, sew, quill, carve, stamp, shape… not that I have valuable skills in every form, but choosing one is like asking me if I want to keep my right or my left leg… um, all please?

I want to do it all, because what if I choose the wrong one?  My hobby is hobbies.  But I want one to be mine.  Or at least three.  Maybe four.  My hard limit is at nine, honestly.

And somehow this all links back to writing.  What if.  I mean really, what if?  What if while I’m busy training dogs (or not so busy, thank you economy), and knitting my fingers off to pay the bills, supporting my writer friends, promoting them, blogging about nothing, chasing kids, trying to make a garden/homestead on a rock bed, pretending I know how to sing for the fake band… What if, deep in my computer’s files, laying in wait, is the next big thing.  And in my interview with Ellen (because Oprah erks me to no end) she asks how long it took me to write this book, that instantly sold out, and the movie rights were bought before it was even published… I have to say, twenty years.  And I have to admit that for 19 of those years it was sitting there in my computer’s memory, because I was too friggen scared/hard on myself to even try.  And she’s going to laugh and call me cute, while holding up one of my washcloths and make some cute joke about loving Jesus and drinking beer.

Okay so I doubt that’s how anything would unfold.  But what if?

But where’s the time?  And where the frick, is the confidence?  Because all I know is that them washcloths will not make themselves.  And sitting here, typing about what if’s does not pay the bills.

*pours more coffee*

~A Quick Short Story~

She took a deep breath, and told the boy, she’d never let go.

She ignored his warnings.  The promises of the demons lining the road ahead of him.  The mountains, valleys, and rivers that blocked the way.

She’d walk it all with him.

Her heart, her soul, would be trampled, bruised, and scraped.  A casualty of his pains, not the victim.  She couldn’t turn away.

The path would be cold, and lonely.  Covered in shadows, and bitter winds.  It would hurt, and she would be hurt, but she’d never let go of that boy.

And maybe he was right, maybe one day, together, they would reach the end of that path.  And they could both laugh, together, at the trials they had conquered, the fear they had tackled.

Then together, hand in hand, they would continue down the next one, towards the next mountain that needed to be moved.

And then the next one.  And the next one.

And she would never let go.

The Day that was Yesterday

We’re just going to go ahead and ignore the fact that I didn’t post anything yesterday.  Only because in actual reality, I did write, several things in fact, I just declined to push that pesky “publish” button.

Honestly, I wrote tons, tons and tons… on facebook chat.  It counts.

I was simply having a Monday, disguised as a Wednesday type of day.  I mean really, my day started with everyone waking up while it was still my “momma’s quiet coffee time”, then my mom called to inform me she had my dog’s ashes, then our “basement/farm” cat never came back from his nightly “romp” (he came back this morning), then I got a huge case of “nobodycaresaroundhereandI’mprettysuremychoresaregoingtoeatmealive”.

As I was crying it out on chat with a dear friend, I hear mad honking outside.  I love how the UPS guy always drives through at the toddler’s nap time, and has to blast his dang horn to announce his arrival.  So he pulls out a box, with a florist name on the side.  And I seriously thought when a certain friend sent me a note about something special heading my way, that this was that, and I was seriously surprised.

So I lug the box inside, and open it up, to find my husband’s name on the card… and then I lost it.  The day crumbled me into a mushy pile of tears.

I promptly grab my phone and text my husband, “You big jerk head.”  Then I went to take a picture of the flowers, to send to him with a note on how his timing was perfect and made me cry…

But my phone died.  Like dead died.  Like wouldn’t function to save my life.  All he got was, “You big jerk head.”

Yup.  No joke.  That was my day.  Granted, hilarious by that point.

An hour later my phone was up and running, with a text, “That wasn’t the reaction I was expecting.”  And by that point I was laughing hysterically, because there was nothing else to do.

Yes you may laugh at me now.  😉

And because obviously I need a new phone before I start some sort of world war with incomplete text, I’m having a “Day Before Chocolate Goes on Sale Day” Sale over at my Etsy shop, White Goat Ranch.  Use the code, “BEMINE” and get 15% off of your entire order!  Today only!  (Counts on Custom orders placed today as well!!!)

~Commercial Break~






Now we’ll take you back to your regular blogging….


A Monday Ramble

There’s some very good benefits to giving up on the whole “real writing” deal.

Like stats, I can finally give up on checking the dang stats every time I publish a new post here.  Sure I still look, but it’s easier to shrug them off now.  Also, it’s a tad bit easier to pull something out of nothing for NaBloPoMo, I’ve lost the worry over “What will Blogher want to see?”  and “What will they feature, or better yet Syndicate?”  And there’s the daunting, “Oh my gawd, people will see that post and think I’m crazy for even thinking I could be a writer!”  Lost that one too.

I needed a huge dose of “I don’t care” a very long time ago.  Because I always cared, always, and I cared too much.

Which is a confusing mix of inner voices, because all the time when I was striving for this goal or that, letting my feelings get tied into who did what, and why not me… the whole time I was battling whether or not any of it was even the path for me.  Mental punishment for both trying and for not trying hard enough.

Now I get to sick back and laugh at it all.  And it feels good.  I don’t have to care anymore.  I can just enjoy putting words out into the interwebs… or not.

Granted, quitting something before you even really step out and try it on, probably isn’t the best “Go me” moment.   Because when you get down to it, blogging and writing, are a whole heap of sameness, yet couldn’t be further apart.  There’s such safety hiding behind little blurbs of thoughts, but writing, as in sending your works out to someone specifically, waiting for them, hoping they choose you… yeah.

Maybe one day I won’t be able to hold back those little voices in my head who want to walk down the aisle of a bookstore and see my name sitting on the shelf.  But for now, I’m happy to be free from them.

~Ten Things~

I’m tongue tied this morning, or more so finger tied.  I’m tripping over thoughts as I try to type them, and I’ve already wasted too much time this morning staring at this blank screen, so let’s make this easy, shall we?


Going with the theme this month from BlogHer, 10 things I love in no particular order as they randomly pop into my head:

  1. Waking up early, and having what I call “A Date with my Brain”.  Aka, me time, with my coffee and complete silence.
  2. Warm rains.  The kind you can stand out in without freezing your arse off.
  3. Sketching with thick paper and a super sharp pencil.
  4. The smell of a stable.  Something about the mix of leather, hay, and horse hair gets me every time.
  5. Letters from friends, real ones, in the mail.
  6. Giggles from the children.
  7. Fresh warm bread with butter.  Has to have butter.
  8. Sitting at a fire.
  9. Throwing rocks into a river.
  10. Opening a brand new, fresh, analog, book.  Aka, one made out of paper.

Quick, what’s ten things that you love?

When Good Dogs Run


I’m not big on giving out dog training advice via the interwebs, or even the phone.  Every dog is so different, and every owner is different too, and in 99% of cases there is no one way fits all approach to anything.

And too, I’m a Dog Trainer for one of my many livings.  I have a student loan I’m still paying on.  I need to get paid and such.

But in saying all of that, my friend had a scary situation last night, that many of us have faced before, and it’s one that could really get someone hurt, in more ways than one.  Her dog jumped the fence and took off running.

Stopping this from ever happening is a pretty easy fix with most dogs, but not one that can be done from my office on a computer screen.  So let’s talk about what you should do when your dog takes off.

I’d bet 89% of us would immediately panic.  Our dogs feel that.  We tense up, our hearts begin to race, we move in jerky actions, lounge forward, scream loudly… sorta like a rabid ape lounging towards our pets.  So they run, they run for every inch of their life.  Would you run to a human acting like that?  Right.

So the first thing to do is to try to relax.  Easier said then done, I know.  If they’re standing there, not running yet, try dropping to the ground, relaxing, calling their name gently.  Acting like there’s nothing going on.  If your dog has had some decent obedience training, you can fake a treat in your hand and call out some commands, like tricks, happily, and get their focus on you.

Again, in the same spirit, if they are running, or they have that look in their eye that they want to take off, turn it into a game.  Most dogs love a good game of chase, and most of them never get a good game of it in with their owners.  So you take off running, jumping around like prey, in the opposite direction.  Playfully call their name.  Act like an idiot.  Make them want to chase you.  And never immediately grab them when they do come back.  Offer tons of praise, act like nothing happened.

Another good exercise is to practice these things outside, with distraction, on a leash.  The two most important commands in a dog’s life is “Come” and “Down”, so seek out a good qualified trainer if your dog doesn’t know these commands perfectly.

And remember, no plan is ever fool-proof, especially with an animal.  Make sure they have a micro-chip that is registered, and always keep current pictures on hand.  And never, ever panic.

This is just a quick tip, and there’s so much more I could cover.  I’d be happy to answer any questions that can be answered online.


ps. legal stuff: I cannot be held liable for you reading this information and it not working with you and your pet.  Dog training is a physical and demanding sport and discretion should always be used.  Be smart and safe out there.  😉  Aka you can’t sue me.  ❤

pps: My official website is down right now, but for kicks you can find me at my hardly ever touched facebook page http://www.facebook.com/gatewayk9training.com

My Grandmother’s Child

I am my grandmother’s child.

Not in the bad confusing way, but as in almost every single grain of my being was shaped by her in some way.

I’m not so sure, looking back, if my need to emulate her rests in the “nurturing” I received by her, or if I was born with the “nature” to fall in line with her ways.  I’m pretty sure that I don’t care one way or another.

With two working parents, and little funds for daycare I spent every weekday in her home.  I can still look back and see Days of Our Lives blaring on her huge wooden tv counsel that was the size of a small boat.  I can still smell the ceramics on her clothes.  I can still remember the small lines that curled up into a smile on her face.

She was finicky.  The child of the great depression, the first generation of Americans in her German Immigrant family.  You didn’t waste one dang thing.  You used crayons until the nub disappeared into your fingerprint.  You minded your manners.  You put your church first.  And life was all about family and tradition, period.

Tradition, no matter what it was, you kept it.  Even the annual meet-ups, twice a week at McDonald’s.  Same time, same booth, same group of people.  You could change your order of course, if you had a coupon.  That, by the way, is where I learned to gamble from a very grumpy man named Sam.  Sam had his routine of getting his coffee and Egg McMuffin while looking at horse stats, and finishing his day at the tracks.  If I picked a winner, he bought me breakfast the next day, and I could get a soda.  (I was 5, this was huge)  And let me tell you, picking a winning horse is a tough business.  You, according to Sam, have to consider the stats, and pick the horse with the best odds, but not the actual best odds, because then you win less money.  I always picked a horse by its name, I won twice.

When it wasn’t McDonald’s it was early morning mass, or polishing pews, or ironing altar clothes.  Coffee bible studies, where if I was quiet and behaved I got to sip on the left over cold coffee and get pennies from the guest.

Or there were my favorite days, the days when my Great Grandmother “Nanny”, and my Great Aunt Ella came over to make ceramics with my Grandmother “Nan”.  There was on the back of her house, a small mud-room type room, where she ran her “business”.  The room had a picnic table in the middle, shelves upon shelves filled with wedding plates, statues, bowls and more, and an old kiln.

I wish I could remember the conversations between the two Immigrant Germans and my Nan, I know everyone tells me they all used to bicker non-stop, but all I can remember is the smell of the ceramic clay, the feel of the wet mud, and my Nanny making countless little babies to keep me busy.  I always tell myself that I will feel that squish of wet clay between my fingers again, just because that is what they did.

I can remember her backyard, and her not understanding why I refused to play out there.  I remember clearly the horrors of playing amongst the apple tree, the peach tree, the plum-tree, and the cherry tree in the heat of production.  BEES.  Swarms of them, everywhere.  I’d rather play in her garage that was lined with canned produce that she gleaned from those trees, the beautiful jars catching my eyes every time.

It was the way of life to her.  It wasn’t about this or that, it’s just the way things were.  You created, always, no matter the mess.  Around her chair you could find a sewing project, a crochet project, a sketch book, a cross stitch project, and a stack of ripped out magazine pages for the next recipe she would make or the next craft she would start.  Always create, always.

She tried to teach me.  All of it, every skill she knew, she tried to teach me.  The brave soul even allowed me to paint with real oil paints.  But I hated waiting for paints to dry, and I wanted to mix all the colors, and why couldn’t I start all over again with a brand new $15.00 canvas, and clean the paint brushes, no thanks.  We discovered quickly that I had a talent for black ink sketches 😉 .

We tried it all.  We weaved yarn through strawberry crates, and made bookmarks out of plastic canvas.  We did paper quilling, and baking.  Photography with the Polaroid, and cross stitching.  Doll clothes, and electric organ playing.  She even let me play dress up with her figure skating (rollerskate dancing) costumes and skate up and down her hallway in her old skates.  Once she tried to teach me crocheting and knitting, that lesson lasted about five minutes.  ❤

We were both stubborn in our ways.  She always tried to teach me, and I always found a different way to not do it right.

She could be hard with her words.  Condescending even.  But I don’t remember that.  I just remember those thin lines of her smile.

I remember how holidays had to be.  You had to start the Christmas Coffee Roll Dough two days before Christmas.  No argument, that’s how it was.  You had to have ham, and cheesy potatoes every Easter.  It was turkey at thanksgiving with a can of cranberry goop.  The same prayer at every meal.

And then, slowly, I grew up.  Or more so, I grew away.  I got busy with being a teenager.

I still visited her, she by then lived next door to us.  She’d call me at 10pm to fix her cable, or to work on her pre-lit Christmas tree that never worked right.  She’d scorn me for bringing home a new dog.  Or call for me to back her up in yelling at the kids across the street who had to play basketball in her yard.

And then came the day I will never forget.  We were talking about something, and the conversation ended quickly.  I remember the pot of water boiling, and her blank face.  I said her name over and over, before she responded with “When did you get here?”  Or something equally odd.  I waited until she finished with her boiling water, and ran home to tell my mom.

Strokes.  Many small strokes were taking my grandmother away from me.  The woman who defeated horrible childhood arthritis and competed in Roller Dancing.  The woman who travelled the world.  The one with so much talent, so wise, was disappearing.

The strokes turned into Alzheimer’s, and dementia.  And she soon was placed in a nursing home.  My world started crashing down.  She’d call me by my mom’s name at visits, and tell others she hadn’t seen me in weeks.  Her home was being sold, with all those treasures being dispersed, all my life, it felt, disregarded.

I struggled with that day when our conversation ended abruptly, and honestly, some days, I still do.  What if, just what if, I hadn’t told anyone?  What if it could have been our secret?  What if I had just given more of myself and stayed with her?  Cared for her on my own?  Gave up me for her?  She hated that nursing home, and I felt I was the one who locked her up.

I struggled more so, to visit her there.  To sit with the shell of the person she once was.  To watch her fade away.  I tried.  I went and watched our soap on tv with her.  I lectured her on being nice to the nurses, to fight to get better.  I brought her all the creations I made.  I prayed.  She’d kiss me on the cheek, and call me the wrong name, and I’d cry all the way home.

And then I got the call I never imagined I would get.  It was time to say goodbye.

I climbed into the bed of hers and squeezed her hand tight.  The hand that did so much for me.  I quietly begged her not to go.  I whispered reminders to her on how she was supposed to help make my wedding dress, how she was supposed to be there to see the children I had not yet had.  How I needed her.

And then I said goodbye.

She passed the next day.

I don’t remember if the church was full at her funeral.  I don’t remember who came or who didn’t.  I remember my heart was shaking, and I remember my mom and I holding onto each other like if we didn’t the world would really shatter.

I remember sorting through what was left of her belongings, clinging to what I could.

I remember moving on, but never moving past.

A collection of her photos that were set out for trash, now hanging above my desk.

A collection of her photos that were set out for trash, now hanging above my desk.

I am my grandmother’s child.

Nine years past her death, it’s more clear than ever.

One year past her passing I married and had her grandchild.  I bought one crochet hook, a ball of yarn, and a crochet book.  I made myself learn, for her.  And maybe a little bit for me.

I demand ham on Easter, and coffee dough made two days before Christmas.  Her prized hutch sits in my dining room, still the same shade of awful green paint that she loved, my treasures on top, papers and crayons on the bottom for my children, just like she had it.  Her paintings that my mind played in as I drifted off to sleep during naptimes at her house hang above my couch, beckoning the imaginations of my children.  My daughter is her namesake.

I love with all my heart, that woman who for all purposes raised me.

And I will forever laugh as my husband complains about me having too many projects going on at once.  Because life is all about creating.  Always.  And I am my grandmother’s child.