Tag Archives: gardening

2016 – The Wrap-Up

I’m just going to pretend that this year is over. I really can’t take any  more 2016. The next couple of days are interstitial days – they belong to no year and nothing that you do on those days matters. This is a new rule I just made up, but I’m keeping it.

Fuck you, 2016!

This year was tough. My marriage ended. I moved into my own place. I got officially divorced. My job ended. I have been – as yet – unable to find a new job. A lot of celebrities I especially liked died. A celebrity  I don’t particularly like not only lived, but was elected president. Money is tight and anxiety and depression are high. My kidlet is stressed out. I’ve had persistent shoulder issues that have prevented me from doing as much as I’d like.

Lots of shit.

Lots.

(Sometimes, literally.  Motherhood is rewarding AF.)

Seriously. Fuck you.

But you know what? It wasn’t all bad, was it?

I’m in a fantastic relationship. I have a great kidlet (even if he is not only a four-and-a-half-year-old, but also the source of that literal shit I have to deal with from time to time). I really got some quality time with a lot of wonderful friends – and made some new wonderful friends, to boot!

Being four is serious business

There was a lot of good travel this year – I was in Vegas in April for the RT conference where I got to meet IRL my friend Elizabeth Hunter as well as make new writerly friends! In May, I went to Bend for the weekend with the Beer Guy. I was in Seattle a couple of times (July and November). In August, I was able to take the Bean to South Dakota to meet my grandmother (his great) for the first time (and not incidentally got to sing karaoke with my three bestest besties from the good ol’ college days!).

Me & my marshmallow goo proving that being 39 is also very serious business.

AND – I was able to go to Iceland. ALL BY MYSELF. Sometimes I remind myself that if I could do that (which required a lot of overcoming of my anxiety issues), I can do almost anything.

I waited patiently in Bifrost for a divine visit, but unfortunately, the gods overlooked me this year.

I got to meet some other personal goals as well. I’ve really reconnected with my domestic badassery – my garden wasn’t much to talk about this year, but I made jam, and just canned festive simple syrups, and made some pies, and started baking bread again. Also – cheese. I made a cheese. Soon, we will know if that cheese is delicious. CROSS YOUR FINGERS!

Parmesan!!!

I finished writing two books and a novella, completed edits on one book that’s currently in the last look-through by my editor on its path to publication.

I found out that I really, really enjoy being a writer, and if someone would actually pay me, I’d be okay doing this for a living. (What I need is some freelance editing/proofreading work to supplement my as-yet non-existent writing income. Apparently there’s no six-figure advance for self-publishing.)

SAY MY NAME, BITCHES!

I’ve worked through a lot of things this year and I hope that I’m coming out on the other side stronger than I went in. I lived on my own. I single-mommed. I’ve been unemployed. I’ve stopped procrastinating and started achieving my dreams. I’ve traveled internationally alone.

All of the things I thought would be the hardest have been the easiest. The only thing that makes this year still shite is that pesky lack of funding issue. (I am open to paid companion positions, all eligible sugar daddies reading my blog…I’m sure there are a ton of you out there. Call me.)

(Seriously. Call me.)

The emotional stuff has been hard, but I feel like I’ve been tempered this year.

A year ago, I declared that 2016 would be the year of me. When I wrote that, I had two very specific goals in mind. I wanted to end the year not married and not in the job in which I started the year. Both of those things have come to pass, albeit not exactly as I’d planned. (Maybe I should be a little more careful with what I put out in the universe.)

I don’t know everything that 2017 will bring. There are a few things of which I’m certain:

  1. I’ll (again) move houses, but this time into a more permanent situation (less than a month now!)
  2. I’ll start a new job
  3. I will publish two books
  4. I will turn 40 and there will be a unicorn piñata (the party is the day after my birthday – Saturday, 2/25 – you’re totally invited)
  5. I will do some travel, even if only a little bit
  6. My Bean will turn 5 (FIVE YEARS OLD!)
  7. I’ll have a great garden and do more canning (I’m out of salsa and it is a travesty)
  8. I’ll keep writing
  9. That crazy Bean will start kindergarten
  10. I’ll keep moving…yoga and walking are where it’s at right now, but I’d like to – just maybe – start running again
  11. I will drink delightful gin cocktails on the back patio in the summer with the people I love best
  12. I will laugh and love and live just a little bit more

 

May 2014 Goals

Once again, I’m a few days in to May. I really like to let the month percolate a bit before committing to anything.

April in Review

April 2014 Goals

  1. Make it to Rivendell on my “Walking to Mordor” adventure – almost success! I am SO CLOSE! I will be there this week.
  2. Have fun 2-year-old birthday shenanigans with Alvie Bean. – SUCCESS! The Bean turned two and we had fun. And somewhere there are pictures. I haven’t seen them yet – either the pics from school OR from present opening at home, but they exist!
  3. Hit the gym for strength training 2 days/week. – 100% FAIL! I didn’t go to the gym once in April.
  4. Go to all marathon training long runs. All. – 75% SUCCESS! I missed one due to illness.
  5. 30K new words. – 63% SUCCESS! I wrote 19,000 words.
  6. Continue to eschew sugar. – complete and utter failure. It was almost like I tried to make up for sugar-free March AND any future plans to go sugar free just in case. Oops!
  7. Get the budget done. Make it good. Celebrate. – ARGHHH! IT WILL NEVER BE DONE! I did finish what I thought was a final draft, but then it came back! It’s like the zombie budget that will not die. I’m gonna call it a success because it’s not my fault. I totally double-tapped that bastard and it still came back.
  8. Garden prep! At least 50% – Nope.
  9. 11 flights of stairs/day at work. – 100% SUCCESS! At work, we had stair-climbing teams, and the first team of 7 to climb 2,900 flights of stairs won. You could only count 20 flights/day. My team TOTALLY won. Because we are awesome.
  10. Keep up with my #100happydays – 100% SUCCESS! I have found something that made me happy every day!

May 2014 Goals

  1. Get to Rivendell!
  2. Strength Training five times (1 down!)
  3. Have a good (read go to it and finish) race on 5/10
  4. 25K new words
  5. Plant some stuff in the garden
  6. Keep on keeping on with #100happydays
  7. Run more than 50 miles
  8. Take Alvie Bean to the Zoo
  9. Figure out a schedule that allows me to accomplish near-daily workouts, writing, and daily going to work for 9 hours. I am a morning person, and I get up and write most mornings at about 5 am, but then when I’ve planned my post-work workouts, I don’t do them because I’m lazy and tired. Right now, I am supposed to be running, but I am not.
  10. Get the architect a kick-ass and as-yet undetermined birthday gift.

Exciting notes! In the first four months of this year, I surpassed my 2013 & 2012 total miles run, and I should pass 2011 sometime in June and 2010 sometime in July, and 2008 by the end of August.

The strongman - my weight-lifting inspiration

The strongman – my weight-lifting inspiration

Three (3!) Things Thursday

Quick 3 things today –

1. Swimming! I swam again last night, and it was good. I went pretty slow because there were 4 other people circle swimming in the same lane, and they were not fast. However, as I was entering my swim into my spreadsheet, I realized that March was one of my highest yardage months EVER AND, my fastest paced swim in the last 18 months was the last pre-Alvie swim. 1800 yds at 39.5 weeks pregnant. That means that I do have the capacity for greater speed, I think. I should be able to go faster as a non-pregnant person! 🙂

soon! I just need to pick a tri for late summer, now!

2. Gardening! Everything is in the ground that needs to be in the ground. Tomatoes, peppers, squashes of all varieties. I even planted a lemon cucumber plant for Sarah. The corns (plants) are doing well and will probably all get names in the next week.

My First Corn! (ca. 2009)

 

 

3. Martinis! Tonight! My first martini in…waaaaaaaaay too long. I don’t even remember when, that’s how long it’s been. I cannot wait.

It's martini time! (April 2011)

Grad School, Beer & Gardening

That was my weekend….

On Saturday, after a brief trip to the farmer’s market and a stop at the Home Brew Exchange, I spent the rest of the day paper writing. It was my second to last paper for my last official class of my Master’s program. The class is over this Friday. And then, a week long break (which I intend to use to make my house spooktacular), followed by 16 weeks of Capstone project. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Yay!

Sunday was a busy day….I got up and started brewing. My goal was to make a winter beer – in the style of the winter warmers that are so popular. They’re malty and a little sweet, with some nice spice overtones. I used a little chocolate malt, some vanilla and then added cloves and nutmeg (in addition to several other ingredients). It was my first time making beer all by myself (the architect was on a bike ride), and I’m pretty excited to see how it will turn out!  I’m also hoping it keeps well, since my guess is I won’t be drinking tons of it once it’s ready (we’re bottling the first weekend in November, and it should be ready to drink about 4-6 weeks after that).

Brewmaster

I had someone comment on facebook that they could see a bump, but I think that’s just because my shirt is sticking out due to the weird angle of my stance. I’m not that bumpy yet.

After getting the beer into the fermenter, I went outside to attend to some serious business. A couple of weeks ago, I cleared out garden bed #1 in preparation for its long winter’s nap. Yesterday, I went out to do the same to the largest bed – the 8×24 bed. The bed that was full of tomato plants that I’d been studiously ignoring for 3 weeks.

Guess that happens when you ignore tomatoes for 3 weeks? They rot on the vine. Such a waste. Remind me to never be in my first trimester of pregnancy during harvest season again. Because damn! I had no energy to do anything in September, and the first canning session was so exhausting that imagining the second one was daunting. So daunting in fact, that instead of canning the 5 million tomatoes that I’d planted on purpose so that I could have 5 million jars of tomato products in the basement, I let them rot. That just pisses me off. (At me, obviously.)

ANYWAYS – yesterday I went out to see if there were any at all salvageable. And there were a few. A very, very few. Not even enough to bother canning, though. I cleaned out the garden, removing all the pepper and tomato plants, cutting down some of the dying wildflower stalks, and basically leaving the garden bare (except for a tiny growing broccoli that I found and a really good-looking basil plant that had somehow thrived through neglect).

The architect took the last, tiny tomato bounty, sliced and seasoned them, and then dried them. Delicious.

Pre-drying, obviously.

Now I just need to plant some over-winter stuff (garlic, onions, whatever else strikes me), finish cover cropping, and lay down my straw. It’s unfortunate that my trees that drop leaves happen to be walnut trees, so I need to be careful in using those for compost (since tomatoes, eggplants, asparagus, lilacs, and tons of fruit trees are super sensitive to the juglone found in walnut leaves, hulls, and bark).  Composting for a few months removes the toxicity, but it’s not a good idea to directly apply to the garden. Bummer.

Anyways – hopefully by the end of the month the garden will be ready for winter. I am less confident about getting my rain garden in this year. In theory, it should only be one weekend of work. However, digging a 10×7 (ish) rain garden, putting in the intake & overflow paths, and planting it might not be a one weekend project for me anymore. For some reason, I find myself needing to scale back a bit and take more naps.

Happy week, everyone!

Nothing to see! Move it along….

Ha! Just kidding. Please don’t go (girl).

There were no shoes yesterday, because I am in a shoe funk. Over the weekend, I packaged up two of the four pairs of shoes that I’d recently purchased. They are going back. *sob*

Yesterday morning, on my way to work, another pair broke! NEW SHOES BROKEN! So sad.

 

IMAG0501.jpg

The left shoe heel strap stitching just ripped. Fortunately, I had backup shoes with me (the fourth and only surviving shoe of my four shoe ordering spree).

I am so sad! I need to go shoe shopping! (In person, apparently.) I also need to sell eleventy-million pairs of shoes on eBay.

 

Today, I have no new book reviews for you, because I have finished no new books since last week. I know, right????  Crazy. So – I am going to go read like a crazy person and hopefully I will have some new book reports for you next week. I have to be almost done with the 1st Game of Thrones book, right? (I bought it for my Nook, and it was cheaper to get the four-book boxed [relatively speaking] set. Unfortunately, they do not download in separate books, but rather as one big file. Which means that I know I’m on page 284. BUT, there are 3,483 pages total in the boxed set, so I’ve no idea what that means in terms of finishing book one. Does it mean that each book is 870 pages? That seems like a lot. My tiny boxed set picture doesn’t make them look that fat, and wouldn’t the camera add a few pages?

ANYWAYS…garden news! So many tomatoes and peppers and tomatillos! And green beans. Tomorrow we will eat our first broccoli. There are tons of potatoes. The corn is looking awesome & should start tasseling soon. The grape is super grapey! There is a zucchini and a few baby cukes. And beets – oh there are beets! And they will be pickled on Saturday afternoon. (LOVE beet pickles.)

ANYWAYS, I promise a return to content eventually. Shoes! Books! Corn!

Naturalizer Mystic - the only shoes left...

 

The Nook is getting quite a workout

 

Not actual corn from this year...just a representation.