- Tonight the deer was basically standing in our side yard watching us pull into the driveway, with its mouth full of the neighbor’s landscaping. I swear, I feel like I have a third pet.
- Watching Miss L’s Daisy Scout troop crowd into a booth together (away from the troop moms) to nosh on froyo and banter about their days. Miss L wouldn’t take her bicycle helmet off. :)
- Signing up for my first race in a year!
- Being able to run without shin pain. (I mean, everywhere else hurts, since I’ve lost so much endurance, but no shin pain.)
- Eating dinner late: tabbouli salad with salty salty pita chips and hummus and a splash of red wine in a jam jar.
- The Mad Men finale…Om.
- I’ve made time for meditation almost 50% of the days since I started again.
- Sarge, who watches Gaston the fish with his tongue out.
This is the second year that I’ve relied on Michigan Heirlooms for my tomato plants. Those of you who’ve lasted out a year with me will remember that I am a bit of a tomatophile and that my best luck last summer came from the Paul Robesons.
I kept the Paul Robesons this year but branched out in some new and different directions, experimentally. My other plants are:
Dixiewine – apparently a damn good, workhorse tomato. Likened to Brandywine but reputed to be more productive with a better flavor.
Brandywine Sudduth’s Strain – later to ripen, but considered to be the most delicious heirloom strain available.
Black from Tula – a black tomato prone to cracking but with a sweet, smoky flavor.
Harvard Square – ok, I bought this mostly because of the name. Somewhat new to Michigan Heirlooms but she loved it.
George’s Greek Beefsteak – everyone needs a beefsteak. These are +1lb and reportedly above average production.
Palmira’s Northern Italian – kind of a classic sauce tomato, more acidic than sweet, very productive.
Zebra Heart – apparently a technicolor tomato, lime green and lemon and pink. Michigan Heirlooms says with confidence that this year, Zebra Heart won’t be found many other places in the world – but she has dispersed seed and expects that it will take off.
Michigan Heirlooms was properly appreciative of my order and said that I have chosen well. I’m pretty excited to watch my plants grow this year and I’ll report back on the varieties that I am most fond of.
There’s been a lot of negative energy swirling around my life for the past couple of weeks and I’m basically trying to weather the storm in my little lifeboat. If bad things always happen in sets of three, then hopefully I’ve completed one cycle and things will start to clear up. I met the car accident with equanimity – not serious, not my fault, no one hurt, Miss L wasn’t with me, and the faithful Camry is now back from the repair shop & better than ever. Work drama – more difficult and entrenched to cope with, but again, not my fault and I have become able to compartmentalize. Bronchitis – a day off from work and a visit to the Urgent Care, fistfuls of antibiotics, steroids, and pills for my cough. After a week of fever and night sweats, dreams of tigers, an aching chest and head, and having to literally force myself out of bed every day, I am feeling more human already.
I told my girlfriend J. about these setbacks and she noted that I have been working really hard on myself – sort of a second wave of project work to supplement the major remodeling that happened 2 years ago this summer. She said that she bet that the big internal changes I’m making are causing things to go a bit haywire around me for a bit while my brain et. al. adjust to the changes. I meditate daily and have made conscious steps to let go of toxic thoughts, relationships, and behavior. I know this sounds very New Age and I am a bit self-conscious about putting it all in writing. But I do believe that you get out of life what you put into it and if you can verbalize what your intentions are and set them firmly, visualize what you want, then maybe the actions will follow.
That’s the thought, anyway. Sometimes you put all of this into play and are then immediately deluged with a series of unfortunate circumstances and your dedication is put to the test. It’s really difficult to have faith and know you are doing the right things. I frequently find myself looking with no small resentment at some jerk who’s done no work at all on him / herself and wondering why the hell they get to be so happy and I have to smack myself at how lazy and silly a thought that is – usually I do this by reminding myself how I would counsel Miss L if she were suffering from the illness of comparison. And it’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling like it’s a quid pro quo – that I am making changes so that I will get xxx. If I do this, then I will get that. For me, the change has to be the reward, and anything else that comes along with it is just extra.
And the most efficient remedy to that is of course just feeling gratitude at how much I have in my life, how rich I am in so many ways. If the simple act of gratitude doesn’t stop my dismay from growing into discord, then nothing will.
So I will keep meditating and trying to keep my life a clear channel. I will work in my garden and hang out with the small handful of people in my life that I can count on to be positive and supportive and full of light, and try to grow that circle by being the same way back to them. It sounds easy, but damn, there are times when it is hard work.
As I write this, the rain thunders down outside and creates rivers in the street, sweeping up all of the yellow pollen and driving white and pink petals from the flowering trees. It is spring in Michigan and everything is exhausting because the world is green and growing as fast as it can. I can almost feel it; suddenly there are things where no things were before, hostas and dandelions and weeds galore, wildflowers and strawberry leaves and wild mint. I am mowing, hacking, weeding, moving, and sweeping as fast as I can but I can’t keep up.
Cardinals are one of my favorite birds and I have always felt something very symbolic about them although I can’t tell you exactly what I think they symbolize. There was a meaningful cardinal in the Pamela Dean ‘Hidden Lands’ series but I couldn’t tell (or can’t remember) whether it was good or bad. I have been moving backyard furniture and tackling one small garden patch at a time and as I’ve done this, I’ve noticed a pair of cardinals circling nervously. They perch on the overhead lines and in the lilac trees. In the evening, I can hear their silvery chirp through the screen door and when I walk back to the den, Sarge is crouched staring at them. And they are staring back from a very close place, the wood rack or the back of a lawn chair. That chirp can be kind of maddening when you are hearing it for hours straight; I feel like I have two new roommates who are loud and unhappy with everything I do. I see Papa Cardinal blazing red in the long damp green grass, I hear Mama near the birdfeeder. I was in the front lawn pulling dandelions and there they were again, hovering over me in a slightly unnerving fashion.
Of course they are not harbingers of any sort of doom or glory (or maybe they are) – in this case they have a nest built in one of the cedar trees tucked up against the side of the garage and of course on weekends when I am passing back and forth, unwashed, in my Detroit Tigers hat and beat up Chuck Taylors, I am too close for comfort, poor little things. I would love to inspect the nest more closely and take some pictures but I will restrain myself and instead be hopeful and excited that at some point soon there will be a clutch of cardinal eggs hatching basically on the other side of the wall from where I sleep.
Spring is TIRING.
A couple of other notables. Awhile back I read an article about dry brushing and ordered a brush from Amazon. It never showed up. The other night I was at Whole Foods buying a slice of pizza (I have a problem) and looking at a bottle of wine for a friend of mine who had a significant birthday recently. I decided against the wine because honestly that friend is kind of a jerk but came away with the pizza and a dry brush from their health and beauty aisle. The Whole Foods health & beauty aisle always makes me feel like inner peace and wisdom can be attained from applying one or six of their exorbitantly priced essential oils and buying an orchid and burning a $12 joss stick and I am a sucker for ALL of that. (I also ended up going back for the wine, thinking that just because my friend is a jerk doesn’t mean that I have to be, and quite predictably, I ultimately wished I’d just drank the damn thing my own self. PEEEEPLE.)
So anyway, the whole dry brushing thing is all kinds of awesome. I have incorporated it into my whole new morning routine, in which I wake up earlier than I used to, have a leisurely cup of coffee, meditate, dry brush, and get ready for work. I have been enjoying this so much that it actually makes me want to get up early. And if nothing else, even if I haven’t found inner peace and wisdom, my skin is velvety soft.
When flipping through radio stations, if I hear a Hall & Oates song, I will always stop and listen to it.
I am older than I think I am.
Or, in my case, perhaps a ‘caturday’.
It still feels weird when Miss L is with her dad for the weekend and I have a full Saturday and a Saturday night without anything to do. I have a reflexive feeling of guilt about these times, and an almost subconscious anxiety that makes me want to sit at home and wait for her return. I’m gradually processing those feelings, and I’ve been dating, and I have things to do, and plans. But at heart I am still inclined to back out of social commitments and hide with the boys, which is exactly what I did yesterday.
Yesterday I spent my Saturday doing a few of my favorite things. It was a bit of a grand day for me because it was my first time running since January! I had a tibial stress fracture and spent the last nearly 3 months in recovery mode = no weight bearing exercise. No boot camp, no elliptical, no walking. I got to be very good friends with the spin bike in our workout room.
Last week, I was able to start with the elliptical and walking, and yesterday was my first gradual ramp-up. Run / walk intervals, 5 mins of walking and 1 min of running for 30 mins. It wasn’t much, but everyone has to start somewhere, and I have a 9-week recovery training plan that I am going to follow to the letter. I have new PowerStep Pulse insteps, a fancy shin harness, a new iPhone sport armband, and wireless headphones on the way, my gifts to myself for my return to running.
I picked Kensington for this run, and spent another hour after I was done tromping around looking at birds.
I swear, someday I will be the old lady clomping around the parks clutching binoculars and bird books. I know there’s something tweaked about me, that a day spent doing that is preferable to going out and socializing, but I was completely happy with my choice.
Everyone is sitting a nest these days, and the air is filled with the booming noise of the cranes nesting on the island in the middle of the lake, and the noisy chatter of red-winged blackbirds. The swan pair were quite domestic. She stood up to rearrange her nest and tenderly cover her eggs back up with fluff while her hubster looked on. The Sandhill Cranes seemed to be having some sort of dispute, however, as they kept the cold shoulder toward one another.
I came home, took a nap, which Emmett loved, and ambled over to Whole Foods for dinner… I am addicted to their pizza which is a sad and expensive addiction at $3 a slice, so I save it only for special occasions because 1 slice is never enough.
Sometimes, a Saturday night spent doing laundry and watching historical English programming (Wolf Hall, White Queen) is balm for the soul, and better than any night out on the town.