Tuesday, June 19, 2018


Our first homegrown tomato!

Hello, friends. I've been away from my blog for a long time, I know. Thank you for the emails and messages asking after me and my family. We're okay. Everyone is feeling well and healthy. The Bear is fully acclimated to his chronic medical condition, diagnosed late last year, and is doing great. The small Bears are three weeks into their summer break and are having a wonderful time; they've finished a two-week session of swimming and diving lessons (with another session still to come in mid-July), they're attending fun events at the library every week, attending ballet and guitar lessons, and there have been several fun play dates and lunches with friends. Plenty of vegging out at home with books, TV and movies too; we all need to chill sometimes.

As for me, well. It's been a hard few weeks. I used to write fairly often here about my difficulties with accepting and not becoming anxious or upset (sometimes frantically so, as recently) with the behavior and choices of people I care about. I've unfortunately spent the last month or so turning myself inside out over this same thing. I'm surprised by the way it hit me, since I'd been doing much better with it for the past couple of years, but I think it's just been a difficult few months, what with the Bear's medical concerns, a new dietary sensitivity in the family which has completely upended much of my cooking, the general sense of unrest around us all. It has sort of felt like bad news almost every day lately. I know that isn't true, but sometimes it's hard to get out of that way of thinking, the perpetuity of waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Blogging was the furthest thing from my mind, which is unfortunate because I started my blog, and maintained it, specifically so that I could remember the good things about my own life while negative ones swirled around "out there." This time, though, I was really beginning to doubt even the goodness of my own life - the truth of it, even. Please know that I'm okay, I'm just getting back on my feet after a hard phase. When I need to, I remind myself that my life is good, my marriage is happy, my home is a safe and loving one. But really, all I need to do is look around, listen and feel: all of this is true, and real, and indisputable. I am learning to let go and remember what matters and what really doesn't. I want to help everyone and be a peacemaker. I want everyone else to have happy, healthy lives. But they have to want it too - I can't make it happen for anyone but me, so I will focus on that.

Sorry for the downer, guys. I know I don't owe anyone an apology for my absence from blogging - my own blog and everyone else's - we're always telling each other that, and it's true. But I've found real friendships here and I thought you should know that I'm okay and that it's just been a hard stretch, but I'm coping and moving forward.

I've been experiencing a technical glitch with my blog. Maybe someone has advice? When last I blogged, I noticed that I was not receiving emails for any comments left on posts (this includes "no-reply" commenters as well as everyone else). I don't know why this would be, and I've investigated it as much as I know how to do, coming up empty-handed. It's not a huge deal, but is a bit of hassle. Weirdly, it makes me feel like I'm fishing for compliments, because I have to make a special trip to see if anybody has said anything. I'm sorry if I've been missing questions or issues that you wanted me to see. Can I suggest, if you have a question you think I might be able to help with, can you email me? You should be able to use the little envelope icon up on the sidebar near the top, or you can send it to thistlebearhome @ gmail dot com (in proper email address format, obviously).

I'm just getting started with organizing a camping trip this weekend. We'll leave on Saturday for two nights in Villaneuva State Park, sort of north and east of here. I've never been to this campground, but the Bear has and he likes it. There are fire restrictions in the park, so I can't have a fire or bring a grill, I have to cook on the Coleman stove. Honestly, this is a major drag. I'm going to make a large pot of vegetarian chili this week, freezing it in containers to pack into the cooler. They should act as ice packs, which will be useful, and once thawed, be ready for reheating at the campsite. No s'mores or roasted marshmallows, unfortunately; I have some snack cakes for the small Bears so they can at least have a little treat while camping. We're all hoping and praying for a good monsoon around here, as usual. One reason is so that we can have our other planned camping trip toward the end of July; that one would be in the Santa Fe National Forest, which is currently closed! Can you believe they closed the forest? They really did. It's too dry and some people have been too careless with fire, so nobody can use it at all. Fingers are crossed for a good start to the monsoon; if we still can't have a fire, maybe we can at least camp with the cookstove up there in a month or so.

I hope you're doing well and enjoying good weather where you are. I'm glad to be back in this space and I hope to return soon. I'd like to tell you about my amazing new...wait for it...dishwasher! I've had it for a few weeks and it's been really fabulous - never in my wildest dreams did I think I could enjoy a dishwasher quite so much. Not that dishwashers have ever really figured in my dreams, but you know.


  1. Well, hello there!
    I am happy to see you back.
    I am sorry to hear of your struggles.
    Anxiety sucks!
    Sending a virtual hug your way!
    Lovely summer photos!
    Our tiny tomatoes are still green.
    Looking forward to a tomato sandwich!
    Have a cozy afternoon. : )

    1. Oh. And you are right.
      Blogger changed something, and we no longer receive emails when a comment is posted.
      Now I just check on my dashboard under the Comments section.
      I have read that people have asked about it in the Blogger Forums, but no answer from Blogger yet.

  2. Jennifer, God be with you. I'm glad to see you writing a post on your blog. Summer was always a little floaty for me when the kids were growing up. I think I read even more then.
    Today the weather is cooler and I love it. I might plant some things.
    Take care, good girl.

  3. I'm sorry to hear that you've been having a hard time, I hope you're starting to feel better about things now. Enjoy your weekend away, hopefully it'll recharge your batteries after that last few hectic weeks of term.

  4. Hi Jennifer! It's great to see a new post from you. I'm so sorry to hear that you've been having a difficult time. Thinking of you. My sunflowers look just about like yours and I can't wait for them to bloom soon! It's very hot here and humid, so it's hard to spend a lot of time outdoors. It's 96 degrees today. I took Charlotte to a pool today to meet up with a friend and her mom and I nearly melted. I was very happy to come back home and just chill in the AC. I don't do well in the heat. I hope you have a wonderful weekend away camping with your family! Take care.

  5. I don't know if this helps, but I do understand about the anxiety and being upset about the behavior of loved ones. I have plenty of that in my extended family. It's very hard to let that go sometimes. I'm getting the feeling you're like me - a HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) and a bit of an empath.

    As for the blogging problem, if you're using Blogger, it's something to do with that. I couldn't tell you exactly what, because all that computer talk is beyond my comprehension. Maybe a Google search will tell you more? I hope you and your family have a wonderful time camping!

  6. Hi Jennifer, first off, a lot of people of been having that issue with Blogger. I don’t know what to tell you, but just know it’s not just you and we would never think you were fishing for comments. :-)
    Also, I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been going through a rough patch. I hope things are looking and feeling better for you. I feel much the same a lot of the time. Everyone who knows me calls me the worrier. I try not to be that way, but there it is. I tried to take on the cares of the world all by myself. I think what draws everyone to you is that you’re sensitive soul. But that’s also what makes things hard for us sometimes.
    I’m glad to hear things are going well for the bear and your children. I hope your camping trip is fun. We’ve been making s’mores on our camp stove because of the no fire ban up here too. It’s not as fun as a campfire but it still melts the marshmallows!
    Many blessings and much love, Betsy

  7. So good to hear from you, Jennifer! I empathize with the anxiety and hope that some time in nature helps to resettle you. These are anxious times and it is easy for things things to snowball for the worriers among us, of which I am one.

    I am very envious of your healthy looking geraniums and tomato! We had an extraordinarily rainy spell mid May and many of my tomato plants have developed yellowing or blossom end rot, and the zucchini is a sad sight as well. Ah well, nothing like home gardening to make you appreciate the grocery store :)

    All best wishes for a safe and happy camping trip, and some restorative days to counteract the difficult time.

  8. Hello so good to see you here and yes BLOGGER has gone crazy....I only have 1-3 who comment so when I had a week of none went looking. But there is no solution......Now as for you yes I am also one of your friends and lets say these blogs can give us so many others to tell a troubles and our fun times too. Take care and I sure loved your bright photo's as here is winter and cold lol xoxo

  9. It's good to hear from you and to see your lovely photos again!
    No comments mailed to me either and I hate it. Like you, I'm not fishing for them, but I sure don't want to miss them when they come!
    Happy Camping!

  10. Just a thought about 'fireless' s'mores- could you use chocolate covered cookies and marshmallow fluff? We're campers, too.

  11. welcome back - you were missed.
    sending gentle healing hugs from my side of the world. xxx

  12. blogger (owned by google) is not getting email notifications because google is updating their email system - see here: https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/blogger/V611KU-BUOQ

    It's been nearly a month of this so far :(

    So sorry to hear of your struggle. I have had that one too, it's super hard. I had to learn a lot of 'letting others be responsible for their own actions', a lot of letting go, of examining co-dependent care taking tendencies in me that create this anxiety and also learned to redirect my worry by thinking or doing other things (for me this could be reading, baking, cooking or reading about baking and cooking). I've talked with a counselor about these things for a while and that helped me too. I hope in whatever way is best for you, that you can regain your sense of peace in that. I know how hard it can be. My sympathies! God bless you dear one! your blog is special to me and so many of us!

  13. Hi Jennifer. It is good to see you, I am glad you are slowly feeling more in control. I know it has been a difficult couple of months but hope that you can leave all behind, or at least behind firmly closed doors.

    I keep going back to your first photo, love it! I was wondering what it might be but scrolling down reveals the secret, a cushion reflecting the light in a most beautiful way.

    Blogger comment notification has not been working since the end of May. It is a nuisance but I now look for comments in the dashboard. Hope it is fixed soon.

    Enjoy your camping trip, I hope you have packed a good book and a small creative project so you can relax completely. xx

  14. Have a great time camping with your family

  15. Jennifer, so good to see a post from you. I'm sorry things have been difficult, I hope they improve soon or at least that you're able to distance yourself from things you cannot change. I am sending you a cyber hug. You always write so beautifully about the joy in life and I always get the sense that you really appreciate the good in everyday life. I hope that you feel happier about things very soon.

    I have had problems leaving comments on particular blogs recently (not yours) and I haven't had emailed comments from my blog in an age. I couldn't work out why, so I just go and look at the comments on the blog itself or via the dashboard. I've found spam on older posts when looking via the dashboard, so it was a good habit to get into.

    I hope you have a wonderful time camping at the weekend. A shame that the other forest is closed, but at least it should be kept safe this way. CJ xx

  16. Hello my friend. Good to hear from you. Take it easy and look after yourself too as well as everyone else. I am sorry to hear things are not sitting well with you at the moment. Hopefully you can find some head space over the next few weeks. Jo x

  17. I am glad to hear your family is all okay, I did worry a little but hoped you were off camping or some such. Have a lovely time camping.

  18. Hi, I was sorry to hear you have been having a difficult time. I hope everything is panning out better now. It has taken me ages to realise I have to go and look for any comments now; what a pain that is; and consequently I missed some that are now too old to publish. I know better now. We are now in the hottest three months of the year, and I have several lots of visitors, one after the other, so it is going to be a busy time. But of course, I love having my family out here so I am not complaining. I shall try to keep my blog going with all the good times news. Enjoy your camping trips. Kate x

  19. So sorry for the tougher than usual issues and feeling down. We all go through this, not one of us do not have ups and downs in life so do not beat yourself up. Your mental health and stability are what is important, not the blogging or Instagramming or anything else. No apologies, just take care of yourself and your clan. Hope your camping trip was lovely and relaxing.

  20. Good to see you're back. One day at a time. Sorry to hear things aren't going along as smoothly as you would like and hope things get better each and everyday. Your flowers are beautiful. Your tomatoes look like they have that rot stuff you get (can't remember the name of it), where the top or bottom gets black but the middle is ok. It's either not enough or too much water I believe both cause the problems. Camping without a fire does put a damper on things, but getting away is always good. Safe and fun travels.
    Sandy's Space

  21. I saw your comment about no fires on the camping trip and thought you might like to know that you can buy a s'mores basket cooker make by Hershey's. You make them up in foil and put the entire thing into the BBQ and they cook very fast. No toasted marshmallows but they are yummy and very melted. I bought it for camping with my grandkids as many campgrounds do not allow fires. You can also buy GF graham crackers and they are very delicious.

  22. Hey Jennifer,
    I am in a permanent state of catch up lately.
    I am so sorry to hear that you've been feeling so crap. Other people in our lives can put an inordinate amount of pressure on us, and when they are people close to us, it can be unbearable. I'm glad to read that you have been trying to take steps to look after and shield yourself from it all. Counting our blessings and appreciating the good around us does help, I think. The pictures you have shared perfectly sum you up for me; a love an appreciation for the small details of our lives. It's what makes us contented and happy in a real sense. None of this reaching for the stars for me and you, my friend. We already realise where our happiness lies; our homes, our kids, our partners and the nature that we share it all with.
    I wish you love and peace, my friend.
    Leanne xx

  23. Hello lovely friend. I am late to the party here but just wanted to say hi, I missed you, and I'm sorry things have been so tough but I'm glad they are turning around. Always know that you have built something really precious and special in your home and let that nourish you protect you from the crap that is going on outside. Lots of love. xx


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