sigh, CSA failure

The most recent CSA was brilliant, squash, arugula, beans, savoy cabbage, pickling cukes, broccoli, fresh onions. I can't even remember it all.

I love it but with the best intentions I still can't keep up with it. I had the best plans. I tried to be organized and we ate a lot of it. But still I ended up throwing stuff away that went bad before I could get to it. It makes me so sad and guilty, which isn't helpful because I really am doing the best that I can.

Sometimes it even seems like I did better last year even though I was dealing with twice as much, that can't be accurate though. It must just be that haze of time. I am going to try to come up with new ways to meet this challenge, any ideas be sure to let me know.

As for the garden the first full size tomato is rapidly turning gorgeous. Those d@mn squirrels better not pilfer it, take one bite and mock me. We'll see though. Minneapolis squirrels have no fear.

I hope everyone's growing projects are moving along nicely.

Death of a Screened Tent

So I like to plan things. But I am also trying to just get stuff done with some grace and not drive myself [and others] crazy with the planning and preparing. Have I mentioned I am married to a non-planner?

So it wasn't until last week that I got around to airing out my screened tent for use at the cottage and camping next month. [I am so relaxed, see?] It hadn't been used at all last year due to my trip to India. As I erected it I noticed that 3 of the 4 poles seemed stressed, like they had been bent incorrect ways. It wasn't helping matters that I was attempting to put it up myself. I forgot that it really takes 2 people. I gave up because I was afraid of breakage. When my wife got home she helped me get it up properly and we left it up to breathe. There was rain coming that night, which we figured would be a good test of its' dependability.

The next morning it was in a twisted heap in the yard, poor thing.

We assessed; all the poles were shot and replacement poles cost $19 dollars each. I was hesitant to spend that much money, $76 on a tent that had only handled 4 weeks of work over the past 3 years. I was quite aggravated with it. I then questioned if we really needed a screen tent , to which my wife who knows me pretty well said 'yes'.

So off to Craig's list where my wife's luck was fortunately in full flow. She found a fabulous little/never used tent. It would sleep 7 [...children under10 or 3 adults] and it had an attached smallish 'screened porch' AND it was only $65 [proceeds going to an animal charity]. I had been wanting a tent I could stand up in, and here it was plus the screened room. I'll have to adjust not having them apart but I decided what the heck. It will be pretty brilliant for overflow at the cottage as well.

We put it carefully up and I reeled back stunned. It's called a 'lodge', but seriously it's like a palace. wow. It's like HP4 at the Quidditch world cup [peacocks not included].

Thank goodness for the kindness of campers because you would have to be a giant [or have magic] to put this one up by yourself. It stood up to a good storm, and then I seam sealed it and let it dry then miracles of miracles we managed to get it all back into the bag. It may just be magic now that I think of it.

So we now have a palace to camp in, we'll see how it holds up to conditions in the field next month. [but it doesn't have closets]

ice cream makers are dangerous

Combine them with hot sticky weather and you don't have a chance.

It was a lovely weekend, I got to hang out with 2 friends that I don't see very often, one on Saturday and one on Sunday . We huddled in the air conditioning feeling grateful for coolness and talked and talked. Very different from the weekend before, this time the talking went both ways.

On Saturday as I visited with the co-creator of IMAD, we made ice cream and as a nod to IMAD had side by side home pedicures.

An ice cream maker, especially if you have the freezer space to store the 'bowl', means home made ice cream is only an hour or so away at all times. I'm sure not having it every night during a heat wave helps me grow as a person. Or perhaps the heat affects my brain so that I don't realize I could be making ice cream. Anyway this weekend we made chocolate coconut ice cream.

EB's Chocolate Coconut ice cream ..based on many recipes

Whisk together or use your stick blender

2 cans coconut milk don't bother using 'Lite', you're making a treat!
1/3 c of agave nectar
2/3 c of cocoa
2 t of vanilla extract
1/2 t of sea salt

Place this in your ice cream maker and process 20 minutes or so until it is starting to set up then add

1/2 c of unsweetened flaked coconut

Finish processing and ripen in freezer while giving yourself a pedicure. Then enjoy. See if you still have some left 3 days later.

Stay cool all.

running report week 7 and Argentina

Week 7 was interesting.

Two of my 25 minute runs were fine. But the middle run showed me how little my mind and body communicate.

When I did my first 25 minute run in week 6, my brain was amazed that my body could do it. So for week 7 mentally I was comfortable, it was more 25 minute runs. So I was surprised that during my second run of the week that I dropped into a walk without any conscious thought after 15 minutes. My body just took the break. I went back into my jog after a minute or so but soon I dropped into another walk, this time I walked 3 minutes or so until my body really felt like moving again.

In spite of feeling fine in my head, my body only ran 21 minutes or so. It showed me again how different my head space can be from my physical space.

My end run for week 7 which I did this morning was nice. Body and head space were aligned. Weather at 7 am pretty pleasant. Bugs not too bad. I do miss the autumn breezes though, we have had a lot of calm, buggy weather this summer.

My ankle was feeling much better than earlier in the month. All my runs were outside so I am still not sure how far I am going. 2+ miles for sure. Hopefully I'll make it to the track for my Wednesday lunch break and get a good idea how far I am running.

Here's to a great week 8, and my attempt at a 5K in less than 2 weeks. I guess it will depend on the weather and my body how far I make it running that day. It will be something new. Best wishes to everyone's summer projects.

Not running related-- I noticed this blog had it's first visitor from Argentina, and that reminded me to express my pleasure and delight at the July 22 legalization of marriage for all adults in that country. Good to have wonderful news to celebrate. Did you see the ad?

sometimes it's better to be fake

This post comes with a disclaimer. If you read this blog and know me offline as well be assured that this post is not about you or anyone who would ever read this blog.

So I have this guy in my life who does not listen. Occasionally if he is really working on it he can listen somewhat but this is fairly rare. He gets overloaded with information very easily, even if he is the one asking for the information. It doesn't seem to make any difference if we are communicating face to face or by email. Occasionally I get very judgmental in my head and wonder if he is just a moron but then I let go and I work on not taking it personally. He has this difficulty with many people.

I don't know much about him but he comes across as a goodhearted, very anxious, fearful person. I try to have compassion.

I cannot avoid him entirely. Although some days I certainly try. Right now he is in my life and that is what it is. I have attempted at various time to give him information, seen him fail to understand without realizing it and have recognized that there isn't anything I can do to change this. So now I nod pleasantly, thank him for his input and say things like 'I see your point' or 'thanks for passing that on.' and move on.

So what is the issue? It seems like I am coping pretty well, right? Well I feel like a big faker. Totally inauthentic and well... a big condescending liar. Metaphorically I am patting him on the head like he's 2 years old and say 'that's nice dear'.

But there isn't anything else to do at this juncture. I know I am making the most emotionally healthy response. Still it is weird to have being fake be the best option. Certainly took me by surprise. Here's hoping the situation doesn't last too long.

Those of you both online and off, thank you for listening, thinking and being real.
You are appreciated. Stellar weekends to all!

revisions are different

Writing update: So here I am in revision world. It's different.

My first draft is done and I finally have the space to fix things, write the prologue I was thinking about, get rid of slow scenes I kind of hated and just tighten things up in general.

My story is in 4 parts and I have broken my revised draft into those parts so I am no longer dealing with one humongous file.

It's quite fun, I am enjoying it as I thought I would but it is pretty slow. It seems very slow. I am on page 12, that's about 6000 words. Word counts aren't really meaningful anymore though while I am deleting and creating and cleaning up so much. Did I mention it's different? I am doing more active thinking. Playing a bit with word usage, polishing punctuation, and trying to catch illogical stuff.

Of course part 1 probably needs the most revisions out of the four. right? Perhaps it will start speeding up? It would be great to be done with revising before November 1st and the next nanowrimo.

[Nanowrimo is in just 3 months, sign up this year, you know you want to...]

Oh and one of my characters is Dutch. I am barely getting over the Netherlands defeat in the world cup. It was sad.

talking to the max

So back from a weekend up north. Ah the quiet north woods but it was different this time. I was up there with some of my family and my family are talkers.

I define talkers as people who can just effortlessly chatter away, about pretty near anything and it doesn't really seem to cost them any energy. This wears me out so quickly. Also I usually can tune things out when I am reading but the volume didn't really allow for that this time.

The talk is interesting, mostly and they really aren't expecting a lot back from me. I think they realize that I am not a big talker. [you there, quit sniggering]

Ok, yes at times I am extremely talkative but it is a continuum and after I talk I get all tired out. I also try to listen and give the people I am with my attention. This also takes tons of energy. I think I know this about myself but still it surprises me. I found myself Saturday afternoon in a heap on the bed listening to the rain with the door closed 'taking a nap'. I am a horrible napper but I was like an overstimulated toddler who just needed downtime.

I am not exactly sure why I am writing about this except that it was a big deal for me this weekend and I feel the need to acknowledge that in some way. Also, perhaps, I am noticing my burnout level sooner than before and self care is kicking in quicker, so that is a very good thing.
I am also becoming aware that it may take several days, up to a week, for me to really recover. Do I bounce back slower nowadays?

I don't want to imply there is any right or wrong about this, some people are more talkative than
others and that really is ok. but for now, Quiet to all who need it .

garden glare

Am I being too sensitive? Surely the garden isn't actually glaring at me?

But today when we got back from the cottage and I pulled the weeds back from my miniature yellow rose, a gift from a dear friend and saw once again that the bugs [or something] had eaten virtually every leaf off of it. Did I mention again?

So frustrating. Also I just realized I don't even remember what gift occasion the wee yellow rose bush was for... hmmmm. I wonder if the giver remembers.

Anyway I don't quite understand how the garden has gotten so out of control. I need more mulch desperately, I couldn't find cocoa shells, my preferred type this year, and I just feel all of these huge shoulds when I look at it nowadays. It's so 'behind' it's not giving me much joy, although I do cheer on the plants making it in these tough conditions.

Let's be fair, it's not the garden glaring at me, it is getting plenty of rain and warmth this year. It could happily run amok all summer. I am glaring at myself.

I want it to be different, weeded for one, and for some reason it feels overwhelming and I feel disinclined to do it. A lot. The heat and humidity we have been having is a big part of it I am sure. I keep thinking 'it should look different'.

Not sure exactly what to do here. Why, when I was much more busy last year, did it seem so much easier? Is a clever metaphor needed here to make it more fun for me? Or perhaps a bug proof screen hat? Perhaps a few hours of gardening help from a willing slave er friend? A gardening epiphany?

In the meantime I am committed to not use my garden as a way to be nasty to myself. I think I can do that much.

CSA = brilliant box

The early spring in these parts has resulted in our CSA being even more fabulous this year. I am so glad we went down to every other week, because even with house guests and parties it's still a challenge to not let anything go to waste.

Last week our box had: cucumbers, green beans, carrots, beets, fresh garlic, summer squash, cabbage, lettuce, cilantro, basil, snow peas, sugar snap peas, green onions. It was all fantastic.

I made my first attempt at a blue cheese dip to go with a lot of those fresh veggies and people at the party seem to like it pretty well.

EB's blue cheese dip

1/4 c blue cheese [as strong as you like]
1/4 c mayo [could be part sour cream]
1/2 c plain yogurt
chopped cilantro [or any herb you have handy]

whirl in food processor for smooth or mash with fork for chunky and enjoy.

The yogurt gave this a nice lightness and tangy-ness that people seemed to like.

We didn't quite get all the lettuce eaten before it died. Oh well, I hate throwing food away. I have a goal to not let any of it go to waste we'll see if I succeed some box. I hope everyone is getting a chance to enjoy fun local stuff this month. Stay cool.

shoe sense?

Well I really put it off as long as I could because I was dreading it but I went shoe shopping last week. My super strict 18 month old goddaughter made me.

Once again it was horrible. I never seem to see the shoes I want at the time, but the shoes I was looking for 6-10 months earlier are falling on my head. [way too late to do me any good] I walked around DSW, which plays great music by the way and found some nice shoes for work this autumn on sale but no summer sporty slip ons.

I then went to REI willing to spend and use my dividend. I did find a reasonable pair of sporty, cushy, flip flops which will be semi useful for camping and they only ended up costing $8 dollars.

I then realized that both my old Tevas and Keens fit my niece so I broke up with them good and sent them away with her. It feels great to not have those losers from last summer looking at me anymore.

Saturday, still desperate for sturdy, comfy shoes for camping I went to Savers with my wife. I don't know why I don't rely on her superpower more often. It's like I am Darren in Bewitched. Anyway I go to Savers with her, walk over to the shoe rack and there they are are; brown, sturdy, comfortable, sporty clogs, just what I wanted for camping. $7.99 seriously.

Even her super powers couldn't get me the right shorts, but brown yoga pants, $5, in my size, which I never see new anywhere. I just don't know how she does it but I am grateful and it might be months before I need to shoe shop again! [Although I noticed the soles of my black boots are cracking but I am in total denial]

Thankfully she only uses her powers for good.

You know I am much more serene about possibility of shoes not working out when I only spend $8 instead of $80.

running report week 6

There has been a lot of heat, bugs and humidity the first 11 days of July until today which is beautiful and not sticky. Still even with fascinating company in the house I did 'week' 6 of the C25K program.

Although my running days are more spread out, I did do week 6 exactly as specified otherwise.

Run 1 was a 5 min run, 3 min walk, 8 min run, 3 min walk, 5 min run.
Run 2 was a 10 min run, 3 min walk, 10 min run
Run 3 was a 25 min run.

Again there were outside factors that made this challenging. Mostly the heat, humidity and bugs. There were a few times I seemed to be getting a stitch but then it would subside.
I also had internal challenges, especially today. 25 minutes seems so much longer than 20. I really felt doubtful that it was going to be possible for me today, but I guess I still have a lot to learn about my body. Perhaps it can do all sorts of stuff I am not aware of...
My left ankle that I broke many years ago has been stiff and painful this month, so I am trying to give it a lot of tlc.

I did all runs outside so I am not precisely sure how far I am running. The loop I am doing is 2.2 miles long. I keep waiting for the endorphins that everyone raves about, but although some minutes are certainly easier than others I don't seem to be hitting a 'happy rush' yet.

I am feeling more confident about the race I'll do on August 7th. [unless it is very hot or something] Hard to believe that is less than 4 weeks away. Everyone has said that running in a race is easier, that the energy of the crowd carries you along so I think it will be fun. Again it will be on nice sandy trails that I prefer, and who knows maybe I'll be able to run the whole way.... Although I don't know that I would say I 'like' running, I do enjoy having an exercise I can do almost anywhere as long as I have the right shoes and bra. I certainly don't hate it.

So onto week 7, which is more of the same, I hope to run indoors at least once and get a better idea of how far I am going. Best of luck if you are currently challenging yourself with something new, you can do it!

metphors work!

So back here I talked about my needing a metaphor that enabled me to interact with the changes at work that would keep me sane. One that that felt comfortable.

I did find my metaphor during the following week but I wasn't sure if I was going to blog about it. It seemed that it was so specific for me that it couldn't be of any use to anyone else. A couple of friends convinced me otherwise.

So here it goes, my work = an active drunk.
As soon as I made that connection so many things improved for me. For one thing I stopped thinking I was in some way responsible for their erratic behavior and choices. Then I realized I needed to take care of me and not try to take care of them or make things better for them. I needed to act responsibly and ethically but I didn't need to expend energy on trying to save them. I didn't cause their crazy behavior, I certainly can't change or cure it.

In other words I expanded the 12th step in Al-Anon in a new empowering way that works for me. By seeing my work as an active drunk I can let go of a lot of unrealistic expectations. For instance I no longer expect them to behave rationally, that would just be silly. I also realize their view of reality is warped and that I do not need to buy into it. I just let go.

This isn't to say work doesn't still annoy me at times but now I know how to respond in a way that eases stress for me. As always in letting go you get free. I have peace back, even if some days I get through one hour at a time.
I can maintain a sense of compassion as well. Especially for my coworkers trying to deal with the same drinker.

Seriously, it has been quite fabulous. I don't know how meaningful this will be for someone who is not used to 12 step programs though. [or really anyone] but then I guess you never know. I am so grateful though. peace out.

It's a pretty fabulous world.

weather whining

You know the one that goes 'grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change'? Sometimes it is not all that clear what we can change and what we can't but one thing I am absolutely sure that I cannot change is this crappy weather.


So I know this but still I just dislike this weather so much. I feel silly complaining about typical July weather in Minnesota. It's hot, humid, muggy, sticky, buggy and occasionally rainy. The rain drops the temperature a bit but it just keeps on being hot and muggy. Although this year the rain isn't giving a few hours of relief still it's typical summer weather in MN. Which I dislike more than I can say [although I could go on] and I grew up in Pittsburgh which has plenty of muggy weather so it's not like this is new to me. Why did this weather not bother me as a child?

I have a love-hate relationship with my air conditioners and fans. On one hand they so make my life bearable I love them dearly for the comfort and semi-dryness they bring, on the other hand I feel like I am living in a wind tunnel and I am getting so tired of the constant noise. Then back to the first paragraph of this post.

What if anything can I do to increase my acceptance of this weather that I hate so much? I don't have to suddenly love it but I would like to soften a bit and not be in a constant state of 'ick, ick, ick'. It so stressful but, perhaps because it's primarily a physical reaction, I have problems really connecting to it?

We haven't had a long stretch of weather like this for quite a few summers. Perhaps I will acclimate? Seems like I will have a while to work on it.

Where will you be the first week of August 2010?

The advanced sale ticket deadline for the Michigan womyn's music festival is rapidly approaching, June 10. It's not too late to call. Ticket information is here.

Going to the festival is a unique experience for every woman. I knew about it for years before I finally said to myself Enough dithering, this year I am going no matter what! I am so happy that I did.

Some of my favorite parts; showering under the stars. Watching some of the little girls run around in fairy wings feeling totally safe. Really unplugging from the electronic world and the clock. Taking time to listen to just me and feel sad or happy, lonely or contented. Chatting with womyn from all over. Exploring wild and weird workshops. Waking up to the sound of dozens of voices chanting. Just being in a culture that makes room for mothers and children and acknowledges their work. Being blown away by some of the music. Walking in the woods in the middle of the night feeling protected and cherished. Watching sisters move through lifelong issues.

That's just me though, it is different for every attendee with something for all. It works as long as you are aware you cannot possibly do it all. Maybe this year I'll finally take in a movie.

I hope each of you get some peace and time just for yourself this summer and maybe I'll see some of you in Michigan.

CSA great so far, garden behind

This has been a busy summer in so many ways that I haven't made the time to write about our CSA or garden this summer.

As I said before the early spring seemed to throw me and I got stuff planted quite late. This year I put in tomatoes, orange bell peppers, basil, kale, and cauliflower. I am also planning on a late summer crop of lettuce and peas. One nice thing about all the rain, we haven't had to worry about dragging the sprinkler out and with all the heat and humidity these past couple of weeks things seem to be taking off. Things are pretty buggy though, lots is getting munched on. I have been using the safe soap sparingly. We'll see if I get anything to harvest.

As for the CSA we went down to every other week and I am really enjoying it. The early spring has been fabulous for the CSA, we have already got broccoli and cauliflower, summer squash, strawberries, fennel, so much fabulous food. This week we get 2 kinds of beets, lots of salad greens and summer squash, sugar and snap peas.

Even though there is so much less food than last summer it can still be hard for us to get through it all. In fact we still have garlic scrapes and scallions left from a week ago. I am hopeful I will be able to buckle down and really concentrate on what wonderful things I can make or freeze with tomorrow's box. I have noticed that if I am not the one who unpacks the CSA box then I tend to totally forget half of what we get and then things languish in the fridge. Which reminds me of what luxury we live in where food can actually not get used.

Helping us eat all this produce the first 12 days of July is my wonderful niece and gorgeous goddaughter. They both love veggies, and it's been fun to have some food inspiration with them around. Of course their visit has been fun in many ways. It is so pleasant to have visitors that are just such a joy.

To wrap up this food themed post I tried Crenshaw melons for the first time last month and I love them. It was a pleasant surprise since I don't really like cantaloupe or honeydew but the spicy sweetness of the crenshaw melons are just right for me. If only I could find some really good prosciutto to have with it. Here's hoping something delicious heads your way soon.