More Than Surviving

I just received a new follower to my blog, and when the notice came to my inbox, I admit I was super pleased!  My little blog is still alive and kicking even though I’ve neglected it in the worst of ways for the past three months.  Oh, my gosh, and WordPress has changed things, too.  At first I shuddered, but now I appreciate how easy it is to maneuver!

In addition to the other fall festivities, I moved Chief to a new home where I can spend more time with him!

This was my first harvest working in my new role as a vineyard technician, and thus, my first harvest running what is affectionately called “The Sugar Shack” where we test all of the grapes for their acid and sugar levels prior to being picked.  Yes…ALL OF THE GRAPES, covering approximately 1,600 acres plus of fruit over 12 ranches, traversing the rows via quads and trucks to pick and crush bucket-fulls by the dozens each day for two solid months.  And, with record breaking heat, many of those days were spent in triple digit temps-unheard of for the Central Coast.

I never get tired of harvest.  Ever.

In conjunction with harvest, this year my daughter joined AYSO soccer for the first time as a newbie U-12.  One of my dearest barn buddies offered to coach her team and take her to practices, so how on earth could I say “No”???  Every single Saturday from August through November I played the soccer mom role, and also ended up being the steadfast snack bar gal before several games, as no other parent stepped up to help.  Maycee LOVED playing soccer, and while I LOVED that she LOVED it, the season seemed never-ending, and lord knows I was one tired mom.

First-time soccer kid!

Through this busy-ness I realized something very important, however.  No longer was I simply surviving my life.  No longer was I so exhausted (at least not 24/7) that I couldn’t enjoy the harvest or enjoy the Saturday soccer games.  Once upon an earlier time, say about five years ago, this was not the case.  I often began each morning dreading the hours ahead, sometimes feeling as if my feet were made of lead, and putting one in front of the other appeared fruitless for the catastrophes to come.

Harvest was a blast being in and around all of the hustle and bustle for the first time, and soccer was a budding new experience (for both me and Maycee).  Balance was fleeting during the past few months, but as the dust settled, the balance returned.

Patience.

In a chaotic world in a country that thrives on instant gratification, the history of my single mom years has proven that patience and perseverance are key.  The old addage, “Good things happen to those who wait.” rings true.  Sure, rough things happen, as well.  But, this is the seesaw of living.  Keeping the faith when the mountain seems insurmountable is crucial.  I know, and we all know, that life can change on a dime.  Never once did self-pity project me forward into positive outcome.

I took this photo while I was filling my car with gas.  Here these ducks were, waiting patiently.  Not sure for what, but, nonetheless….

I’m a single mother.  I’ve been a single mom since 2008.  I didn’t want to be a single mom.  I didn’t choose this path, but it was laid before me.  In the beginning I fought it, about a third of the way in (to present) I truly surrendered.  Now I look back and feel gratitude for the struggle, for the scary moments, for the strength that came from nowhere, for each piece arrived me here today.  Those who helped me along the way gave me hope and heart not only for my own situation but for humanity.

When it feels like you’re hitting a wall, all it means is you need to change direction.

And, to those who said, “You can’t do this (to many different this’s)!” I retorted, “Yes, I can!”  I did and I will.

So, thank you to all who read here and to my latest follower who inspired me to share once again.

Remember: life is short, and time is a-wastin’, so give a chuckle and don’t give up!

XOXO,

SWM

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Smiles and Waves (Yes, I’m alive and well!)

What kind of person are you?  Are you the kind that smiles and waves first or the kind that waits….waits to see if the other person sees you first….waits to see what he or she will do…Will he wave at me?  Will she smile?

I’m the kind of person who looks right at you, smiles, and waves.  No waiting.

I’m known for it here at work, especially now that I traverse the vineyards.  Irrigators, foremen, field workers, they all get the same-a big smile and wave.  Whether on my quad or in my truck I don’t wait, and I don’t hesitate.

It took some of our guys a little while to realize I was going to do this whether they waved back or not.  Now….they all wave back…and many of them also smile or tip their hats.  When they pass by me it’s almost like they look forward to it.

And during the busiest time of the year when stress is high and the days are long, it’s the best feeling in the world to get that response.  My heart grows fonder of these vineyards and this process day by day by day, this, my 7th year in the harvest season.

I miss you all, as I have not had time to read or write-until just this very moment.  I’m working ten-hour days and still pulling three nights a week at the horse barn, as well.  The kiddo is in soccer now, which happens Monday and Wednesday nights and every Saturday.  School is in full swing, and Maycee is a BIG 6TH GRADER.

I’m breathing one breath at a time and enjoying the excitement of keeping up in my new job.  Before I know it, the unending Mondays turn into Fridays, but I wouldn’t trade my position as both single mom and vineyard technician for anything.

In the meanwhile, I hope all my blogging buddies are doing great!  I’ll be peaking in when I can and back at it more regularly in a couple of months as the season winds down.

Remember, life is short, so be a smiler and a waver-don’t wait, don’t hesitate.  You’ll make someone’s day!

XOXO,

SWM

Pop Tarts & Coffee

I guess I could have titled this post “Candy & Soda Pop”, too.

Hiya, All!

I have a post waiting in the wings (actually, on my laptop waiting to be moved to a flash drive so I can put it on here) that explains where I’ve been the past couple of months.

To preface, I have been diligently scouting the vineyards as we inch closer and closer to harvest.  This job change has been the best thing I could have asked for and received at this juncture in my life.  Being outside on a regular basis and in and amongst nature has fulfilled me in a way I never could have imagined had the Universe suggested it personally many moons ago.

My “office”.

But, on top of being one busy single mom working two physically demanding (at times) jobs, I’ve had quite a few thoughts rolling through my mind that I figured I would share just because I can.

For instance, Maycee is growing up too fast.  TOO FAST.  She is testing make-up as soon as I turn my back, she prefers “laying out” to building sand castles on the beach.  She would rather stay home during summer break than go to the B & G Club and play “kiddie” games.  And, she is asking me way too many grown-uppy questions that make me want to crawl into a rabbit hole, even though I woman-up and answer them because it’s important to be open about these things.  Oh, and let’s not forget Instagramming and the fact that she receives requests from boys that were “just friends” last year in good ol’ 5th grade who now would like her to QUOTE-UNQUOTE date them because they will be entering 6th grade soon.  You know what that means?  If you do, please message me because I don’t see the difference from two months of summer, darn it.

Okay, the good news I’ve been pondering related to the previous paragraph is this: my budding pre-teen has informed me she is grateful her mom has had a crappy life when it comes to men! Ha!  Not that she is glad her mom endured a lot of heartache, but she IS glad I’ve shared everything from my past (to a degree) with her so that she knows not to make the same mistakes.  Back pedal, back pedal, back pedal.  Truth be told, I am an open book for a reason, and the reason is crystal clear based upon these rapidly developing situations.  She also has informed me that she thinks “dating” in grade school is “stupid” (agreed), and while she likes boys, she is not interested in following this peer-pressure-induced concept.

*Proud mom smiles.*

That’s right, honey, you just focus on your horse and all those ribbons!

Speaking of my crappy love-life, in a mind-blowing weak moment back in late spring I decided to re-open my Match account.  What was I thinking?!?!?!  Two years later, two years older, and one short-haircut into newfound freedom here’s what I’ve experienced: tragic humiliation with a capital HHHHHH.  Let me be clear that if it were not for the wonderful [married] male friends I have who prove that decent men exist on the planet, I would lose complete faith in the opposite sex.   Stomach-curdling only partially describes many of the profiles I’ve read.

Jimbob, 45-year-old man seeking 22-year old woman.  I’m athletic and toned and work out 8 days a week, consume 100 calories a day, and only drink to oblivion once in a while.  I’m not interested in a NSA (No Sex Allowed) relationship, so if that’s you-do not message me.  Oh, and speaking of messaging, because I am the most awesomest man on the planet, I’d rather we just meet in person and skip the messaging because if you are anything less than a Taylor Swift look-a-like, you are not worthy of my time.  Thanks, and best of luck, 40-something, short-haired single working mom-you’ll need it!

Match.com stinks.  Totally stinks. Half-way through my esteem-busting 3-month membership I stopped looking.  I had to remind myself of the definition of insanity…”Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.”

My Match.com profile pic. Nope, no resemblance to Taylor. Shoot! Well, just bring me another Pop Tart, then!

 

SWM+Online Dating=Insanity.

Ahhhhh, back to my new old self, again.

Let’s focus on the actual love of my life.

You guessed it.

Chieeeeeef!

Yes, I have been loving my horse.   Loving, loving, loving!  I’ve taken to singing songs while I ride.   I think Chief likes it.  He seems to walk in time.  One of my favorite songs to sing is to the tune of Macho Man, only I sing Macho Chief.  You can hear me now, right?  “Ma-cho, ma-cho, Chief….You’ve got-ta be….a Macho Chief!”  Maycee is mortified when I do this, only making it that much sweeter.

We went horse camping and rode trails up rocks and the edge of mountains, and along (dry) riverbeds.  My kiddo and I are riding together, even.  TOGETHER.  Without discourse.  It has been exhilarating, and I have so much gratitude for the two horses we were given and for the riding journey we are traveling.  It is mind-boggling-at the very least- considering from where we came over the last several years.

I’ll be heading up Maycee’s 4-H Horse group this year, too.  Say what?! I know, I know…I don’t have enough on my plate, really.  And, the kid will be starting AYSO for the first time in August.  4-H leader and a soccer mom?  Goodie!  Maybe I’ll learn to referee the games just so I can wear one of the bright yellow referee outfits.  Hmmmm, that sounds like a grrrrreat idea!

So, I’m back in writing action for a little while in between bug hunting, checking grapes,  mucking stalls, and trying to get a little summer beach action.  Once harvest arrives, I will disappear again, but for now, I’m going to enjoy hitting the keys, eating Pop Tarts, and drinking coffee.

After all, I know I don’t have to worry about getting a date.

[Wink!]

Single and content. See that lady behind me? All I’m missing is the umbrella!

Life is short, folks, so be happy, sing a song, and don’t blink lest your 2-year-old becomes a soon-to-be 6th grader.

Love, hugs, and chuckles!

XOXO,

SWM

When I think I’m done here, I’m not

So, so, sooooooo much to say!

I’ve really been on the edge of telling you, my Readers, that it is time for me to move on.   This blog has been a place of healing, a place of learning, a place of refuge, and so much more.  I’ve made friendships across the written line, and I’ve been inspired by others almost every day.

But, I’ve experienced this before with my art, my music, and many other hobbies or passions–it seems there comes the time when I’m done.  For whatever reason, the necessary point of it passes, and I look toward the next phase of my life.

Kasey on Hi C

What, I guess, is difficult about leaving my blog is that as much as it is a bunch of thoughts converted to words and notsocautiously placed into cyberspace, it is also a bit of my exposed soul.  The ideas, hopes, dreams and struggles I’ve chosen to share.  These are parts of living that will never die.  They continue to ebb and flow, and so, there is always something to think, do, or say about them.

I began writing to find a voice as a single working mom.  I felt alone, I felt angry, I felt overwhelmed, I felt abandoned, I felt suffocated, I felt…..so much….and voicing this to an unknown audience helped-still helps. I figured, heck, if I was feeling this way, perhaps sharing about it would also give voice and insight to another.  My feelings have transformed over these past four years.

Jan 2013 004

Today, I don’t feel alone.  Today, I don’t feel angry.  Today, I don’t feel abandoned or suffocated.  Certainly, many moments I do still feel overwhelmed.  This, I’ve realized and accepted as the nature of single parenting.  It doesn’t take me over anymore.   It only looms slightly upon my back with a tidbit of constant pressure.

This year, 2015, has brought with it some exciting changes, and thus has kept me busy from reading my favorite blogs and, also, from writing.

After six years at my job, I was able to transition away from being an administrative assistant to a field position that takes me into and through the vineyards we manage.  With the mentorship of our assistant vineyard manager I will be studying all that goes into growing wine grapes successfully and sustainably.  I will also be signing up for an on-line certification course in viticulture.  For an “artsy-fartsy got a C in Science type” this is pretty darn cool!  The past six years of learning everything on paper have groomed me to be able to do this, and the support of my superiors allowed it to happen.  Gratitude and excitement fill my heart.

I’m a horse set free to pasture galloping through the hills to the perfect spot to graze on fresh, green grass.

My horse and pasture when I’m at work.

In addition to this wonderful work opportunity, I was also given my precious Chief, that I’ve been leasing for about nine months.  The owner is moving her other horse away from our barn, and she willingly and sweetly gave Chief to me because she believes (as do I, of course) that we belong together.  Just after this news, I found out that our barn is up for sale.  Mixed emotions consumed me, as the only way I am able to afford keeping two horses (Chief and Star for Maycee) is if I work off the board.  What if the new owners don’t need my help?  What if they don’t want to keep the boarding business?  What if they are mean (I don’t do mean.)?  Ha, ha, ha….what if’s will drive us nuts!

Instead of panicking (too much), I’ve done some due diligence and have a couple of back-up options ready to go in case of such what-ifs.  This type of tentative planning I’ve become accustomed to as a single mom.  No longer do I even entertain the idea of giving up (NO WAY), and no longer do I fret to no end when I’m in the hallway.

Progress.

The reason I’m not dating, and the reason I’m happier for it: CHIEF.

2015 is certainly shaping up to be interesting.

And, so, I’ve been in a place of contemplation.  Is my time here at WordPress slipping away?  Should I abandon ship and move on to new lands?

For now, it appears not.  Once again, just when I think I’m done here, I’m not.

I want to share some of the blessings that have occurred in my life-not just this year, but over all of these years.   Because….in the beginning of this blog I was desperately afraid and broken.  In the beginning the hard knocks took precedence.  Now, they don’t.  Singleworkingmomswm has grown into her own, and isn’t that all we can really hope for in a world that is crazy, scary, and uncertain?

Blessings, to only name a few…

Family, friends, and neighbors who’ve sustained me through the good and the bad.

My daughter who gives me a zest for life at just the perfect moment.

Horses.   Their spirits are like no other animals.  Pure beauty.

Our pets, for their unconditional love.

Learning to embrace change.

Finding strength in the smallest of places.

Resilience.

Hearing the crickets, and seeing the birds, jackrabbits, and butterflies in the field.

A home and a job that provide a sense of stability.

Tuning out the voices that say, “You can’t.”

Simplicity.

Just being me.

I don’t know how often I will get here right now, but I do want to tell you, ALL of you, that I’m grateful for this forum.  I’m so grateful, and that is enough to keep me hanging around, if even on the perimeter.

I’ll see ya!

And to other single moms who may be reading my blog I say this: Yes, you can.  You and your children are worth it.  Ask for help.  Be gentle to yourself.  Press forward and have faith because there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it will show you the way to new beginnings.

img_0800.jpg

XOXO,

SWM

Bloggedy, blog, blog, blog in 2014!

The Word Press status monkeys are at it again.  Each year, like the scary monkeys in the Wizard of Oz flying through the sky, they make their way to my blog, hovering, coming at me with this’s and thats, pointing out the obvious as well as the obscure.

Even though I don’t write for stats and never will, nor will I probably ever glean the “likes” of some of the larger fan-based blogs I subscribe to, I did enjoy noticing this year that traffic across SWM went up, more people signed on, and I gained quite a few new blogging friends along the yellow brick road.

My purpose for blogging is two-fold and will remain as such so long as we both shall live: to carry the message of survival with a smile to other single moms and to share my journey with those who’d like to join me-no matter what boundaries we cross.   Both of these, in turn, help me find my way each and every day as the tornado carries me to different lands.

I have no longings of meeting the Great Mr. Oz; there is nothing so big that I truly yearn for…only a little bit of peace found in between the lines and the ability to be the best mom possible-the most precious gift of any there is in this world.

So, Readers, I wish you sparkling red shoes, crowns of joy, and lots of chuckling in 2015!  Now, enjoy checking out my “Year in Review”, and also, meet the newest addition to our furry family, Katy.  Happy New Year!

XOXO,

SWM

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,700 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 45 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

So Much, So Fast

Hmmmmmmm, how interesting! I clicked on the suspicious pencil-looking icon at the top of my WordPress Reader site and vwala!  There appeared the “new editor” allowing me to type a post that I had no idea I was going to write….until this very moment.  And, honestly, I have a lot on my mind.  A LOT. But, sometimes with so much brewing it is difficult to narrow the writing down to what is burning the most on my heart to get out, to purge or to share.

The thing is, that clicking on this new icon to which I had no idea what it was simply allowed me to narrow it down that much easier.  It’s about change.  It is super easy to write about CHANGE.  At least, I think it is because it is the ONE THING we can always count on-the ONE THING that is always taking place with or without us.

This year Maycee entered the 5th grade.  She is an upper-classman in elementary school now-more-so than as a 4th grader.  She is one step away from being top dog.  One step closer to ruling the entire roost.  She has embraced this role fully, and along with it, she has embraced so much change within herself.

Up until this year I have been the doer of almost all things for her.  I cleaned her room, washed and put away her clothes, made her meals, packed her lunches, woke her up with the sound of my voice and a light nudging or tickling of limbs, checked her homework for completion, helped with any challenges.  All of that typical parenting/mom stuff we do for our kids.

Up until this year I was still the “cool mom” who all of my daughter’s friends thought was “pretty and nice”.  I held my daughter’s hand while walking across campus after picking her up. I dried her tears if other kids were mean to her and had discussions with her teachers or counselors to make sure any issues were handled and quickly.  I was desired at all functions and for sitting down and watching Disney Channel together.

This 5th grade thing has brought into our lives something I wasn’t quite ready for: INDEPENDENCE.

Ha!  Just like that Maycee is saying comments like, “Mom, pleeeeeeeezzzz don’t do that.  You’re embarrassing me!”  So what if I’m dancing around like a crazy woman in delight over the taste of some delicious cafe mocha yogurt at Yogurt Creations in front of a whole bunch of folks, not to mention Maycee’s BFF?  Whaaaaat is so embarrassing about that?!

“I’m going to clean up my room after dinner tonight.  I need to start keeping it neat.  I’m done with Barbies.” OK, who are you, and where did you place my child?

“Mom, I’m going to start bringing my own purse with me everywhere I go.” AKA, I don’t need you to hold MY MONEY.

“Mom, can I ride my bike to school ALONE?” That’s what I’m talking about.  Say what?! No!

“Mom, can I get Lunchables to make my own lunch?  ALLLLL the kids are eating those now.” Why certainly-let me hand over my lunch-making torch from the last 7 years gladly.

Teacher to Mom during recent Parent/Teacher conference: “Ms. MacInnes, I’d let Maycee start making her own decisions about when she finishes her homework.  She knows the consequences if she doesn’t complete it. You don’t need to help her.  Give her more responsibility.  This is the year for it, and all of MY kids know that.  Maycee tells me, ‘After all, I’m in the 5TH GRADE NOW.'”

Morning wake up?  No more.  Alarm clock to the rescue, and what a happy child it produces!  No longer do I hear, “Uuuuugh, I’m soooooo tired!  Why did YOU wake ME up so early?!?”  Nope.  She hears the beep, beep, BEEEEEEEEP and saunters out of her room on time with a smile on her face (a lazy smile, but still a smile) and even says good morning!  Well, OK. GOOD MORNING THEN!  Yahoo!

And, I won’t even get into the health education and puberty talk.  But, I will say that if there’s attitude in the room, well, poor Miss Puberty is to blame according to Maycee.  “It’s puberty, Mom.  My teacher said.  It causes all kinds of behavior stuff.”  Well, indeed, it does, I guess. Did I go through that? No wonder my mom is laughing at me on the phone.

“I need to text Fabby now, Mom.  It is VERY important.  Oh, and I know I said I loved my texting phone, and I do, but I REALLY like Fabby’s I-Phone, and I totally know how to work it.  Oh, and I would REALLY like my OWN laptop.”  Huh.  Really?  And, I would like money to grow on trees, but that’s another blog post.

Texting went from nil to 90 within the last few weeks after Maycee discovered Fabby has a phone, too.  I am currently using the phrase, “I’m going to have to take it away if you don’t put it down-now.”  Help me. Prior to this Maycee said the likes of, “I don’t even use my phone.  I forget it’s even there.  I don’t want to be one of THOSE people who texts all the time anyways.”

Change can make us forgetful, I suppose.

Drying tears?  Over and done with (for now, except if there’s a texting crisis).  “Oh, my gosh, Mom. He was so rude (speaking of a bullying sort in her homework class)!  And, I told him so, and I thought he was going to come up and shove me because he looked so mad, but I just stormed off and told the teacher!  I’m not afraid!”  Wowzers.

Hand holding-Lord knows I try.  I have to sneak my hand underneath Maycee’s and touch the fingers, which creates an automatic reflex  that quickly disappears once she realizes it’s happening.  Darn.

Disney Channel?  Replaced by Nick at Night’s re-runs of Full House and Fresh Prince of Bel Air.  If I’m lucky there’s some room left on the couch for me to squeeze my mommy butt and sit with the girl.  If not, I return to my post located in the kitchen corner not to be heard.

Certainly these are all positive changes and quite exciting!  Well, a little frightening, too.  I mean, it’s just SO MUCH, SO FAST.  But, I know that one of the biggest parts of mothering is also learning to let go.  Each stage in a child’s life requires a bit of this. If we don’t do it, then independence is hindered and opportunities become more difficult to experience.  Not to mention our kids might end up never leaving the house-ever.

When Maycee turned 10 I wrote in her birthday card that I wanted her to soar, and this is what she is doing-in leaps and bounds as her 5th grade year takes shape.  I may need bigger wings to keep up, but I’ll find them, if nothing more than to watch and wonder and smile.

I’m glad I logged onto WP today and clicked on that funny little pencil that led me to this “new editor” prompting me to write about the one and only constant in life.  And, I’m glad I got to connect with you, Readers.  Remember: life is short, so if you’re feeling a little funky just blame puberty, start texting, and give a chuckle!

XOXO,

SWM

Peanut Butter Blobbed

Photo op-click!  Love my grapes!
Agggggh….all the grapes are ripe! Time to pick!

 

Yes, it is harvest time at work, so I have like about a millisecond to write a post…that’s it…a millisecond. Are you ready? It’s going to be quick, but I gotta write. I just gotta!

I’m even using the “Quick Draft” to get ‘er done, and every time I use this feature I end up going back to the regular “write a new post” way because using the “quick draft” just seems like a set-up for crappy writing. Set-up or not, crappy writing or not, I am doing it. Ahhhhh, it’s okay, Kasey, you will survive!

I digress….because I’m so ding-dang-dong harvest-brained that I can’t think clearly.

And, this morning I walked into work with a gigantic blob of peanut butter on my shirt.  It took me 15 to 20 minutes to see it there in the bathroom mirror. Just enough time to say “hello” to the wife of one of our clients-she, donned in her Nordstrom’s dress with Armani perfume filling the air, perfectly painted on lipstick and gorgeously styled hair; me, with my peanut butter blobbed Walmart polo shirt from 2008, Ladies Choice deodorant, and hair freshly drying from the shower.

I cleaned the blob off AFTER we visited, which is when I noticed it and realized JUST HOW BUSY I AM these days.

So, there you go!

I love you all, miss you all, and will be “Quick Draft” writing and trying to read YOUR posts, as well,  until harvest ends (hopefully before November this year)…peanut butter blobbed or not!

XOXO,

SWM