Spring garden plans started with growing some cat grass for Gabe and some micro-greens for us. Both were started from seed in February, ready two weeks later, and I know we loved our micro-greens. Gabe’s cat grass, well meh! He wasn’t very impressed. I had purchased a couple of seed kits from Walmart–a basil kit and a lavender kit just for fun and they were both a fail–seeds never germinated.
This year my container gardening is going to be a bit different and I am so excited to get it going. Usually I go out and buy $150.00 worth of plants, seeds, or bulbs and go from there. My focus all season is on production–blooms, tomatoes, regrowth and so on. I battle every year heat 90-110 degree on our deck, bees (wasps not honey), and mosquitos, gnats, and of course blight. There is always, no matter how hard I try, over-watering, under-watering, and not having the right nutrients in the soil. It is very hard, at least for me, to get my garden done correctly. I can’t compost in the way that would be necessary or advantageous where we live. No matter what types of sunshades I buy they usually blow over or blow away. Almost every plant I’ve grown has early afternoon wilt–having had something wrong when I purchased it, the dirt is all wrong for the plant, the plant was watered irregularly wherever I bought it? and I have purchased plants from all over, or I replant and amend and it still wilts–which of course leads to over-watering.
It’s a battle and one I’ve undertaken every year for the last 11 years. Not this year! This year the focus will be on the gardener and my learning to enjoy the process of being a gardener, reading, researching, trying things, but not overdoing anything and not expecting anything except to learn a few things. So, I’ve purchased two David Austin roses which will be here in May. I’ve purchased four peony bushes which I have planted–I’m not sure if I’ll see anything from them this year? That’s fine. I will also have a few of my regular tried and true plants that are usually quite easy for me to take care of–rosemary, oregano, peppermint, thyme, and echinacea. For fun my usual 3-4 geraniums. That’s it!
In 1996 I took a class via the extension office to become a master gardener. I had zero clue what that meant, but we had a 1/2 acre of land and we wanted to plant a garden, but weren’t quite sure how to do it right. We would be battling with soil that had been depleted by corn crops, was partially clay, and flooded regularly. Well, I didn’t learn how to grow a garden that year, instead I learned how to work with others and plant sustainable gardens in a public park and also a lovely garden at a historical site. I never did manage to plant a thriving vegetable garden, but on my own I learned how to grow/transplant strawberries and also how to grow every herb one could imagine successfully. Now for several years I’ve tried to grow beefsteak tomatoes to no avail. That said I have grown some lovely cherry and tomato paste tomatoes over the years, yet not without their frustrating challenges.
A month ago, I stubbed my toe and it turned out I broke/cracked a bone on the side of my foot. Every time something like this happens I scream about not having time for things like this. Thankfully, I healed fast and the soreness and bruising was gone in 3 days and miraculously I was out shopping by that weekend. Prayers answered because at this time of year –tax season, spring planting, spring cleaning, and gearing up for summer, I have absolutely no time to sit around and do nothing. Of course my foot wouldn’t stop me from tax work, but for the three days my foot throbbed it did distract me at times. Then I would take a short break, apply ice, and drink a nice hot cup of coffee and then back to work I’d go..
I have a lot of book reviews to get in this time of year as well. I was recently part of a book launch with Ina Garten–for Erin French’s new book– Finding Freedom: A Cook’s Story ; remaking a life from scratch. This is such a great book and Erin’s show on Discovery Plus was so good too! I was really excited to be a part of this awesome book launch.
Indeed everything has its season. For me the season of feeling confident, safe, secure, and sure of who I was slowly becoming, came right after one of the worst times in my life.
I once had someone, a stranger to me really, try to tell me the things that would or wouldn’t make me happy and satisfied in my life. Being told this by someone who did not really know me made me very angry. I might have been more receptive to her opinion had what she said about what had made her happy in her life held some truth.
No one on earth, even if they imagine they know everything about you (never mind a stranger) knows what will or won’t make you happy at some point in your life.
In 2008 after living in a home for 12.5 years–12.5 years of poverty (combined earnings of less than $25,000 yr), a $500.00 house payment, and living next to 4 people who totally and completely despised me–we left.
Our life after that would be without my having to entertain an entire family at all times who despised me, had lied to me, had pretended to accept me, and who had not only stolen money from me, but had stolen my time–both mine and my husband’s time. I had nearly single-handedly taken on my husband’s brother and father via email mostly and finally unearthed all I felt had been done to us over a period of time and then just like that because of my behavior–we were free. Just like every other time in my life when I’d had enough–all I had to do was wait and the other party would seal the deal. His father’s way was to deny we ever married and make the statement that I no longer existed or was welcome in their home. That was it.
During our first year out of that relationship I was pretty relieved, a weight had been lifted, we were starting over, and honestly we were happier than we’d ever been. We lived in a crappy apartment, but we were getting by and we had a little spending money for the first time in our married life. But something was missing for us–something to love. Our gardens and lawn and bird feeders were gone and we needed something to nurture. So we began looking into adopting a greyhound, which by the way is not an easy endeavor. We found a beautiful girl named Jessy, or should I say she found us, and we were all set. All set that is except that she had not been trained properly and refused to potty outside. When I tried to train her she would growl and snap at me. Then she would proceed to have an accident in our apartment. I couldn’t blame her as her foster parents had always let her run loose in their vast yard and do her business. They were supposed to train her on a leash but did not–so of course we had issues and because we were in an apartment and I certainly didn’t want to be bit or have her bite someone else—we took her back to her foster parents.
So, life went on for another 3 months or so until I saw an ad for giveaway kitties. I talked with hubby and he said “sure, let’s go see.” And the next weekend we did and just like with adopting greyhounds we let the kitten “pick us.” A little orange tabby head butted me and when I looked down–there he was. We were standing in a garage with old dressers and dresser drawers and paint and oil cans and there were kittens all over. Two mothers had given birth around the same time and all their kittens were running loose. We were told he was eight weeks, but later determined he had been 4-5 weeks old when we got him. I picked him up and off we went home. His name would be Gabriel named after the archangel and one of my favorite actors Gabriel Byrne.
Once home and settled in it was feeding time. Gabriel wasn’t my first cat–I’d had cats most of my life up to this point. But he was the first kitten I’d had in a long time–definitely the smallest one and when feeding he wouldn’t stay at his feeding spot and eat. Every time I left the area he followed me wherever I was going. Day 3 and I figured–well, I’ll stand here to get him to eat and then he’ll eat. Which of course worked great as long as I stood right beside him.
Our apartment was small and my hubby did not like cats in the bedroom so he was kept out of our bedroom. Our neighbors, which had 24 hour around the clock barking dogs were only a wall away from us–and there was really nowhere to put our kitten except in our bathroom. So we bought a cozy cat bed and at night after his last meal we would tuck him in and he’d go to sleep until 6 am.
One night while I was laying on the couch reading a magazine (with his bed right beside me on the floor), I remember as clear as if it was yesterday he looked back at me as if to say “you’ll take care of me, won’t you?” and I remember saying inside my head–“yes, I’ll take care of you your whole life.” In just that minute exchange of what his face looked like as he looked at me and I looked back–we bonded. I didn’t know it at the time, but from that moment on nothing I did for him was a burden, or job, or chore, or hassle. I loved him, he was mine, he depended on me, and there were no limits. I wouldn’t find out that this was due to he and I bonding for some time.
Around the time he was 1.5 years old it was time for me to graduate college with a degree in finance and a 4.0 GPA. I had spent two years giving 100% of myself to a program no one who ever knew me would have guessed I would enroll in. Add me to that group because finances and I were two things always at odds with one another. The program had changed me and I would be graduating with honors-which was absolutely beyond all my expectations. And then the night before graduation….Gabe ate an entire daylily flower. At 11 pm I heard him throw up and jumped up and saw green leaves on the carpet. I had received a bouquet of spring flowers that contained daylilies of which I had no idea are poisonous. In fact at this point, I had no idea any plants or flowers were poisonous to cats except poinsettia’s. Because of the way he seemed shortly after this incident (30 minutes), I decided to look up lilies and much to my horror discovered they are almost always fatal if ingested by a cat. You have very limited time to treat your cat before it goes into kidney failure. It is highly recommended if you want to save your cat to rush it fast to your veterinarian. Of course we live in a small area and at the time there were no emergency vets within an hour’s- to even two/three hours drive in any direction. So, I rushed Gabe to the sink and started wiping him down with cool cloths, and I syringed milk down his throat, and for the next 12 hours kept him awake by doing any number of things. I even went so far as walking him on his hind legs around and around our coffee table, a cool bath, syringes of food and milk and water every couple of hours until mid-morning the next day. When we finally got a hold of our veterinarian he was shocked Gabe was still alive. His words were – “he had a 1% chance of making it without veterinarian intervention.” Now, thankfully there are emergency veterinarians in our area and even within 1-2 hours from us that fortunately we have not had to ever contact. Read all about plant toxicity here Of course you know, I chose to miss my college graduation much to my instructor, classmates, and the dean of the programs dismay. There was no way I was going to leave our cat on his own hours after being poisoned by ingesting a lily. I made peace with my decision and have never regretted missing my college graduation. I’d had one two years earlier and two years after this one, I’d had one again. Still, I would choose him over graduation given that choice to make again.
Gabe continued to improve and after a week we knew we had beat the odds.
Then a year or so later he got crystals. Another issue that can harm cats and is so difficult to cure or keep cured especially in males and especially in tabby cats. $2000.00 later, test after test, medications, doctor visits, and special food syringed 8x a day and he was cured. He has stayed cured too with no kidney damage.
He’s had allergies his whole life to food, dust, and pollen and will eat anything off the floor–and I mean anything so we are constantly on alert. He also never got used to eating without Momma by his side so I feed him spoonful by spoonful 6-8 times a day every day. We have had to stop traveling and I changed my work to remote due to his increasing separation anxiety which we feel comes directly from his being too young when we adopted him. Kittens learn confidence through playing with each other. This playtime is pretty constant during 4-8 weeks after birth and he was already in our care by 5 weeks. We have used toys–interactive play to build his confidence but nothing has worked 100%. His daddy finally relented when he was 14 months old and started allowing him to sleep in our bed. For almost 3 years he slept at the foot of our bed on my side with me scrunched up to accommodate him. He’s always had both mine and his dad’s love, attention, coddling, and doting and we’re not ashamed to say spoiled to no end. He doesn’t ask for much–mainly just his nom nom and a treat now and then. He has beds in every room of our apartment and baskets of toys and the freedom to climb on whatever he wants –even the counter tops much to my husband’s dismay. He is living his best life and so are we.
All this to say he is the love of my life in every way and once I realized he’d saved me, I knew why he had come into our lives early or not. He had needed me and I had needed him. After awhile even my husband couldn’t imagine his day to day without our boy. Loving him, sacrificing for him, worrying about him, caring for him before I even consider myself where all new things to me. Besides being loved by my husband, I’d never felt loved in my life before we adopted Gabe. Honestly, I didn’t know how to love. Children were a burden to my parents, I’d been a burden to a significant other, siblings showed no love, friends were the fairweather kind. Who I was and how I’d loved was a reflection of the many dysfunctional relationships I’d had in my life. That night with Gabe was like the stars finally aligning. We had bonded. I wish I’d had the conditions in my life present that night for other times in my life, but I just didn’t. My emotions at one time in my life had been solely dependent on the kind shown to me. I had so many issues to work through early in my life while maintaining dysfunctional relationships, being disowned from family, and involving myself in both work and situations that took me further and further away from ever being placed in the kind of situation or moment the night I finally was comfortable enough (safe, supported, loved, secure) to accept someone or something needing me and at that moment feeling there was nothing in the world I’d rather experience than someone needing me and me providing love and care while doing it. And from that– love that has been returned back to me from a cat that has made every moment of my life since –a life of true fulfillment and purpose.
My life in so many ways has changed since that night. I’ve grown exponentially –like the Grinch’s heart in so many directions. My ability to love and be loved, to let go and learn to fully trust for the first time in my life, to be close, really close to someone, to commit for all the right reasons, to stay and not run when I got scared and more. In opening myself up to whatever might come, even bad or sad things, and giving 100%, even if it left me feeling vulnerable–all of it helped make me the person God always intended for me to be.
So, for everything there is a season. Our life may dwindle down to our last couple of years, hours, or minutes but if it is to be in our life, it shall be no matter what force tries to stop it. There is always hope and even when you don’t realize the things you need the most–they find you.
Don’t ever let someone who doesn’t love you or support you or know you tell you what to do or what you should or shouldn’t feel.
Here is our boy on his 13th birthday–one he shares with his grandpa! xoxox
Not the happiest camper because his card has a grey tabby on it and not an orange one. I told him to blame Target–I tried! A beautiful healthy 13 year old who still weighs 12#–stable weight for 10 years, eats 6 oz of wet a day and one good sized handful of kibble, plays a lot with mom and toys, and snuggles with dad and walks him to the door on work days. I should add he still gets tucked in bed at night, stays on an actual feeding and sleeping schedule, loves to watch birds and squirrels, and is wild about tumbleweeds. He’s a one of a kind, well-mannered boy and we LOVE him!
Maybe it was an article I read or the times in my life sitting at a patient’s bed in their last hours of life. It comes to me at different times, usually when I’m thinking about the future. As I age, my husband too, even our cat, I know that someday it won’t be the three of us anymore. During times of cuddling in bed, we three, I often feel sad, even though we’re memory making. I think to myself, someday I’ll pray for a mundane day like this..
One day as I’m sitting and balancing a budget that may include hospital stays, or medication, or surgeries, I’ll pray for a mundane like this..
One day when my tire goes flat on the interstate, I’ll look back to my many mundane days and wish to be right in the middle of one again like this.
I’ll reflect on the times life was easier–barefoot on gravel, sand between my toes, caught in the rain, cold pop, fresh bread, extra time, a door held open, a simple thank-you, more than one available, in stock, and think mundane is anything but dull. It’s the time between hectic and nothing. It’s the place I gravitate back to when I’m overwhelmed. It’s the moments I reflect on when I wonder about my life and time passed.
Next time you’re out running errands, forgetting to eat lunch, grabbing pizza for supper, and having to pull into a gas station and fill up, remember that someday you’re going to look back on a day like this and want to live it all over again.
Mundane by definition is dull –no excitement. So, no chaos, no worry, no negative emotion beyond the scope of dull, no pressure, no hurry, no punch list, no schedule, no appointments, no nothing. Just dull, everyday, stuff. That one day in the throes of hectic, or pain, or overwhelmed, or hurried, or late, or heartbroken that you’ll pray for just one more day of.
Over the years I’ve lost several friends to death–long before their time. I’ve sat by a few of their bedsides on their last day and none of them spoke of wealth, bank accounts, their car or home, clothing, vacations, social media account likes/comments/follower count, looks or figure, politics or religions. Each and every one of them that could still speak in their last hours spoke of love, love for their children, parents, spouse or partner, and friends. Each of them spoke of how they would miss get together’s, birthdays, weddings, and births. Asked what they’d do different or wish for if they could? It was always another day, any kind of day of just hanging around, talking, eating a meal with family, and enjoying the simple act of doing nothing but nothing being everything in that moment.
So as you go about getting back into going out, or traveling, or increased work hours, or socializing and everything that encompasses those things that are not dull or lack excitement please remember. That somewhere behind all the glitter and the glory of friends, and parties, and social soiree’s there is the peace and reflection and oh so lovely comfort of the days we’ll grab onto someday (maybe in our darkest hour)– and that’s those days that we’ll remember as mundane.
“The mundane and the sacred are one and the same.” ~ Alan Watts, “What Is Zen?”
Easter Sunday in the 70’s –growing up on the farm.
Nowadays, people seem to think the first day of Spring or at least by Easter Sunday that winter should be finished. That isn’t how I remember things growing up on the family farm in the 1970’s. Oh yes there were Easter’s where we could wear our new spring dresses and patent leather shoes. But many times Easter fell at a time where our world was filled with snow and cold. And then the most asked and answered question would be — “how will the Easter bunny get through all the snow?” He always made it—that’s for sure!
Prior to the day I would have watched any and all of the religious programming on television put on by our father for our viewing pleasure–Billy Graham, Robert Schuller, and Oral Roberts. Oh, our dad loved his evangelical preachers. My most enjoyed part of any of what showed up on television at this time of year was Jesus of Nazareth. Which I still watch to this day some 45 years later. Before the big day mom would shop for all our favorites including beef short ribs or sometimes ham–which were meats that she really knew how to bake. Of course her Easter table always had scalloped potatoes, sometimes scalloped corn, carrots, peas, and store bought buns warmed up. What we had for dessert escapes me right now. Often times, especially when I was younger, our grandparents would be our dinner guests. Dad would be able to take an extra long nap in his chair and supper would be leftovers from our Easter meal.
And yes we got Easter baskets that usually held a hollow chocolate bunny, plus a big cream egg (fruit & nut or cherry) in a box, and mom would hide jelly beans all over the dining and living room. It never took me long to find most of them–window sills and dining room table lol.
My earliest memory of Easter was when I was 8 years old and had written a letter to the Easter bunny. Low and behold when I woke up he had answered my letter with muddy🐾 prints and a basket of goodies. Easter time growing up is a wonderful memory for me and one I reflect back on each and every year as the holiday arrives. Though we didn’t have baby chicks or bunnies on our farm, springtime was a time of renewal in this special place. The land after a cold, wet winter was renewed and ready for new crops. Cows began calving and our barn cats began having kittens. The first flowers I would see and smell were my grandmother’s tulips–she loved red and yellow ones. Spring rains, longer days, warmer days and nights, and the return of the robins and whippoorwill are all things that I think about when I remember all of my Easter’s on the farm. 🐣🐇🐄 🐑
Something new that I’ve been working on for my blog is content that is private that a reader can pay for and a downloadable guide to an organized life. The first thing ready to go is my personal blog! My organizing guide will be available for a one-time download starting May 1st.
I’ve recently created a blog about my life and years long healing process that contains the following topics:
childhood trauma, sexual abuse, rape, abuse/neglect, family estrangement, health issues, miscarriages, alcoholism, drug addiction, living on the streets (how I survived two years of homelessness) domestic abuse, my recovery, living sober, surviving then thriving, college after 40, and the overall repair of my life and mental/physical health.
With a one-year subscription you will get access to all the blog posts that I create in a year with the year starting at the time you begin your subscription. Currently I have 3 lengthy posts made and I anticipate I will have 9 more written this year and then after this year I anticipate there to be several more. Again, your subscription starts the day you subscribe and runs 12 months with at least 9 more posts to be written. Once you have paid I will send you the link/password for my personal blog. Please allow 1-2 hours after payment for me to get the notice regarding your subscription. Thank you! E M A I L M E email@example.com
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That’s the question everyone’s asking everyone–or almost everyone around here. So I’ll tell you what we spent ours on. First let me say, we were not in the position like many hundreds of thousands of people where we had back rent to pay or we were in the position of having to go without eating to pay the light bill. We are fortunate people in that we both have jobs that kept us working, we do not have children–yes we do have a high maintenance pet, but other than ourselves and him to provide for that’s it. We are in good health. So, no doctor bills, co-pays, er trips, or other things to stress over health-wise at this time. Neither of us are on medication which at least at my age is a miracle. And for that I’m also grateful and take absolutely nothing for granted. We would never have been able to not pay our rent–it’s just that simple. In the area we live in there is basically nothing halfway decent to rent. The apartments we live in are the best one can get vs. absentee landlords/bad neighbors or neighborhoods units otherwise available in this small town. If you think that means we live in a brand new spacious unit–we do not. The building we live in is almost 30 years old and really needs an update. High rent, a nice view for us, but absolutely no way we could have not paid rent even if it was the law and risk eviction when all was said and done. So, I’m thankful our jobs kept us working throughout because that was our number one priority. With our rent comes heat, water, garbage pickup, and a garage. We are lucky to have something that provides our heat in the winter for us.
A lot of people struggled with getting Covid-19 or having a family member get it and miss work or lose their job altogether or worse. We are ever so grateful that we’ve been in good health throughout. No Covid-19 tests–thank goodness– because we’ve never exposed ourselves or been exposed to it that we know of–we’ve always followed all the protocols/laws. For some that probably hasn’t worked, but thankfully for us it has. In saying that I mean my husband has wore a mask and gloves to work everyday and every single person at his work, including most of management, has had Covid 19 or been in quarantine because of being exposed. Many of his co-workers have avoided stores and restaurants etc. because of mask mandates, but we’ve enjoyed shopping and meals out and many other activities with requirements of social distancing/masks since last spring. Again, neither of us getting sick, missing work, or having to be quarantined. Masking up doesn’t bother us in the least (we’ve traveled in countries where masking is essential as soon as the annual flu season starts) and for us–we’re living proof that something we’ve been doing is working.
Both of us will be one of the last to receive the vaccine because we’re both healthy, we both have food allergies and we’re both allergic to penicillin. In the case of penicillin I’m not sure it matters, but right now our physician has told us to wait and see. Neither of us has ever had a flu shot–I won’t ever get one either for personal reasons, but we will submit eventually to the vaccine because we intend on traveling and I’m sure it will be mandatory at some point for that.
We did not expect the stimulus check any of the times that it arrived. Let’s just say we had our doubts and just didn’t plan on it. We lost money in our 401K when the pandemic first hit and we used money out of our savings for essentials when we were on lock down and everything but the local stores and online closed. We bought canned goods just like most people who could afford them and stocked up on non-perishables that were going out of stock. We didn’t go crazy for toilet paper–I actually purchased a bidet that fastens to the toilet and it’s worked great! We recently donated all the can goods (24 cans of various veggies) that we bought during the first stay at home/lock down of 2020 to our local food pantry. All the cans had been kept clean and safe and most had two years before they expired. It may sound quite privileged to some that I won’t eat processed or canned foods, but I won’t. I also don’t want my husband eating them. That said with all of the uncertainty last year we bought some things reserved if the end of days came lol. They did not so we donated them right away this year to our local food pantry.
So, getting back to the stimulus checks we weren’t counting on. When they came we held on to the first two not knowing what was to come regarding vaccines, worse economy, work, etc. Of course like everyone else our amounts were based on the financial thresholds set by the government. We were paying our bills and affording food and when January 2021 hit we were both working overtime to play catch up with our savings, retirement, and things we need to take care of in 2021. We both know how privileged we are to have jobs and to have kept working and not have to pray the stimulus bills passed. So when the last one did we added it to the first two and put some into our savings that was drained some by purchasing masks and gloves and foodstuffs and the rest went to:
CSA share-bi weekly from a local farmer (veggies throughout summer/fall)
1/4 hog local farmer (14-15 packages of pork)
Share in the community garden (small plot)
Money donated to our PD K-9 department
Gifts for different occasions throughout the year–local shops
Donation of two copies of a local author’s cookbook to local library
Personal purchase of cookbook by local author
Meal out at a local restaurant
Donation of $ to local food pantry
Donation of $ to our church for families/individuals in need (rent assistance fund)
Donation of $ to a local shelter for victims of domestic violence
Donation of bird seed to a local park/rec area
Had Covid 19 never happened the things we donated to and have now taken part in would have been paid for out of our pockets from wages earned. We have donated to the places above for years, just not every year, and sometimes just what we could afford.
We know we could have paid extra on bills or bought things for ourselves or apartment/future house but we did not because as I said above it was money we never planned on. Although we’ve been affected by Covid-19 like everyone else to one degree or another we have been working overtime to make up for some of the financial loss. We’re happy we’ve been able to help others with some of the money we received. We are looking forward to receiving veggies from the CSA we joined and some fresh pork from a local farmer. In our minds putting some of that money toward organic food was once again an investment in our health as well as helping to keep the local farmers that have provided for us in years past in business. For us and for them–win win!
So, that’s how we spent our stimulus money!
Have a great weekend friends and enjoy the lovely spring weather if you can.
What’s in it? Organizational tips for months Jan-Dec for your home and home office.
Why do you need it? This easy to reference organizational guide helps you build a system in your home that keeps on giving. Once you have some of my tips in place you will not have to revisit those steps again unless something changes in your household.
Will I have to buy a bunch of new things to make all you are offering work? Absolutely not. You won’t need to buy anything. Every year I buy a simple planner and always use pen and paper or my phone to store lists, plans, tips, my calendar etc. on. I operate and stay organized daily from a desktop calendar, planner, and phone. If you don’t have the items in the tips I mention, I have included suggested resources below each month. They’re just suggestions–buy whatever is best for you.
And yes, I really do use shoe boxes. This may seem strange, but it works so well. All in one place and nothing gets lost. That’s the most important thing. Make it something convenient and easy and you will use it every day. Coming May 2021 for $5.00 a download.
Are you fond of an hour less sleep for hours longer daylight or no?
Daylight Savings Time starts Sunday March 14th. Do you like this change or would you rather we not use DST anymore? I know it makes hubby and I extra tired for about 2 weeks, messes up kitty’s eating schedule, but it is what it is and we make the best out of it..