Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How does your garden grow?

Look! See my adorable little tomato blossoms? That's the happy news. The sad news is that the cilantro and dill, after surviving only two weeks in my yard, are already going to seed. I hope this only means that they are cool-season crops and can't take temps in the 80's and 90's and so I'm trying to not take it personally - I think I'll yank them out and plant more parsley and basil. Yes, it's already been in the upper 80's here. I won't think about what that might mean for summertime.

My preparedness jobs for April are as follows:
  1. Organize and inventory three-month food supply.
  2. Check 72-hour kits for expired items and replace as needed.
It might as well be said here and now that for me #2 should read "Make some 72-hour kits, you!" We did this years ago, maybe even as much as 15 years ago, when our big, grown-up and adult offspring were tiny, sweet little children. We eventually dismantled them in an attempt to replace expired items, the project got set aside to take care of later, yada, yada, yada, and so now we start again from scratch.

Our ward is promoting a "72 in 72" event, started a couple of weeks ago, where we get together a 72 hour kit for each person in our own family in the 72 days left until hurricane season begins. This week I'm gathering and/or obtaining containers for the 72-hour kits and deciding where to keep them. Will it be duffel bags or 5 gallon buckets? In the garage or the hall closet? Stay tuned...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Live long and be thrifty

Did you know that the root of the word "thrift" comes from the word "thrive"?

In other words, well-being and prosperity. Thrifty doesn't mean cheap. It means thoughtfully using your resources in a way that will bring you the most satisfaction over the long-term.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

March to-do list

Another Mormon congregation in my area has suggested monthly tasks for their Relief Society to do in order to become better prepared and self-reliant. An organized and systematic way to learn and practice living more providently over the course of a year. I'm going to do my best to keep up with them, and I hope that writing about my efforts and results here will give me some sense of accountability.

(Also, I hope that it will serve as a reminder that I'm doing this year-long project. Because I fear that I'll get halfway through and forget about it. Or maybe not even halfway through. Maybe I'll forget about the whole thing by later this afternoon. Things don't seem to stick lately. It's disturbing. But I digress.)

For March the job is simple. Start a garden.

Knowing my limitations both in attention span and ability to withstand long hours working outside in the hot summer sun, I decided a container garden will do. I thought about it, realized that tomatoes and peppers are what I most like to eat as far as fresh veggies go, added in my desire to use more fresh herbs in my cooking, and got started. I begin with:
  • a single roma-style tomato plant.
  • two varieties of peppers - bell and jalapeno.
  • chives
  • basil
  • cilantro
  • parsley
  • dill
Start a garden? Done.

(I may as well confess right here and now that it's not only that I do want to use more fresh herbs in my cooking, I greatly fear that birds, insects, drought, and disease will impede my progress and success with growing vegetables. In order to not be a complete failure at gardening, herbs have been added to the container garden.)

Monday, March 7, 2011

More reflection

My mother wrote on her blog the other day and said something that has moved my sense of self off-kilter. I've heard her say it before, but this time it registered. She said she thinks she has Asperger's Syndrome. Not a severe case, in fact more "normal" than not, but that she feels that many of the symptoms of Asperger's fit her. Everyone knows that my dad was bi-polar, and quite debilitated by it.

I only know a couple of people who have been diagnosed with Asperger's and they are both hard to reach. One of them I know better than the other because I taught her every day in seminary for 3 years. She was unable to discuss with me or the other students in the class how she felt or what she thought about anything more personal than something like, say, the weather. She didn't make eye-contact with me during discussions, and deflected questions by looking down and away and shrugging and withdrawing into herself. I didn't take it personally because I knew that it was more the Asperger's than it was a personal dislike of me or even simply a case of hard-to-reach-teenager. This girl is super intelligent and is easy to get along with, but can't quite let you know her at any deeper level.

So after I read my mom's blog the other day, I started imagining what it would be like to have someone like this young woman as a mother. And as I went on with this mental exercise I realized that with a mother with Asperger's and a father with so tenuous a grasp on reality, I really have no clue what is true about myself. Things I "know" about who I truly am deep down inside might be false.

Now, it's completely true that I am 45 years old (for a few more days, anyway) and that I am responsible for my own thoughts and actions. But if from the time that I was born I was interacting with and responding to parents with these particular kinds of problems, it's no wonder that I have at my core serious doubts about my worth as a human being and whether or not I am lovable. I think it goes beyond low self-esteem and may be why all those positive affirmation exercises taught to me by counselors and therapists feel so outrageously ridiculous and fake. Because in spite of all the people who love me and accept me as a valuable person, deep down inside I "know" that their love and acceptance is more about how good they are, not how good I am. It's why I can't accept a compliment with any kind of grace, and why I "know" that people really just don't understand whenever they give kudos for something I've done.

It makes a big lump rise up in my throat. I know it's something I have to figure out for myself.

Friday, March 4, 2011

spring chores

I've been out working in the yard this week. We had a couple of hard freezes this year, which hardly ever happens, and my plants are showing a lot of freeze damage. The grass is starting to turn a beautiful shade of green and the weeds are nothing short of emerald but everything else looks kind of sad.

Or so I thought.

While weeding, pruning, and mulching in the big flowerbed in the backyard, I happened upon these oxalis clumps again. Shamrocks! And just in time for St. Patrick's Day. They aren't damaged at all, and it was a nice surprise to see them. Then I remembered that later on this spring they'll have small pink flowers, and it made me happy.

Ah, springtime!

Thursday, March 3, 2011


I've read a couple of blogs already this morning and especially noticed how often so many people proclaim what they are passionate about. I find this fascinating because although there are many things that I enjoy doing or for some finite period of time become totally engrossed in, there isn't anything that I can point to and say, "This is my passion". Not counting my Mr. Dub, of course.

Most of my life seems to be taking care of whatever has presented itself for immediate attention, and my down time is spread thinly between crafting of one type or another, reading, home improvement and cooking TV shows, and surfing Facebook.

(Re: Facebook - I'm quickly becoming disillusioned. I am tired of Facebook. It has ceased to be fun for me. The only reason I still go there at all is because that's where my friends and family are.)

I hope that there is something yet to come in my life that captures my interest to the point that I become passionate about it. Because I don't want to admit to anyone, and least of all to myself, that I'm superficial, flighty, or bored. I envy those who have found something that really calls to them.

The good thing about me is that I'm willing to try new things. I hope this means that I will eventually find something to be passionate about.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

roller coaster ride

Dizzying heights followed by lows so startling that my stomach lurches. I know it must be me because everybody in the world can't be impossible at the same time, right?

I think I need a time out.