Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Girl vs. Garden

This is my lawnmower. 
It was given to me, by my father, as a gift on Father's Day. 

If you teach a man to fish...

Starting this $20 yard sale gem might be one of the hardest things I have ever done over, and over, and over.
And still failed.
Yes, I cried.
And I might have called it a foul name or two.

Add this to the fact that I only just learned how to mow a lawn in the past year.
I was given the lawn as a chore once when I was 15 and was never allowed to do it again.
My lines weren't straight enough.

Don't worry, I did plenty of other chores well enough to have them permanently assigned.

Anyhow, after several replacement parts, lawnmower and I are becoming friendly.
I even mow lines in my yard.
They're still not perfect.
But that's why I don't live with my parents.

You should know that in addition to my wild 'someday' fantasy of having a second home in the South of France, I also have a fascination with self sufficiency.
Like, gardens and chickens.

I have french linens that I hang on the clothesline because it makes me feel like I am at my 'someday' second home.
You know, in France.
Because that's not pathetic. At all.

And no chickens yet, but I do have my first "real" garden this year.
And by real, I mean more than herbs and tomatoes growing in pots.
Two raised beds full of all my favorites!

I am not delusional.
Obviously I can't possibly live off the grid, or the land, or whatever,
AND have a second home in the South of France.

There is a point to all this.
I swear.

So, in my garden, live some tomatoes.
The tomatoes look a little sad.
I investigate and find said sad tomatoes have BUGS.

I hate bugs.

Especially bugs that are referred to as LICE - plant or otherwise.
300 Google searches later, I determine the tomatoes have aphids, or plant lice.
And apparently, like the hair kind, these lice are hard to get rid of.

I say bring it.
And because Dad says I can't have a garden without using chemicals, and organic is stupid...
I won't be using chemicals.
Because even an adult girl can't listen to her father.

I learn that aphids also attack roses, and bolt out to the rose bushes to see if they are killing my beloved roses!
I find this:

OH MY GOD, I have an invasion of spiny hairy BUGS!

This is where it gets good.
Why are they spotted?
Thanks to Google and toys for a 4-year-old, I learn that I have Ladybugs!

Okay, ready for the good part?
Ladybugs' favorite food is aphids!
I know, you can't contain your excitement. 

According to the toy, we have some stage 2 larvae and stage 3 pupa.
You learn something every day.

My genius plan was to move some of these ladies over to the tomatoes.
I moved one and watched her devour an aphid, which was strangely exciting.

So far, the kids have had a great time being ladybug runners (we found them in the apple tree too) but sadly, every ladybug has mysteriously disappeared.

I know how nail biting the garden adventure has been thus far, so I will be sure to update you on the success or failure of the great ladybug migration.

Even though I have a bajillion other things that have to get done today and every day, somehow this little garden makes me very very happy.

I highly recommend getting one.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Joys of Motherhood

Doesn't she look peaceful?
My sweet, beautiful girl.

This is the same child who, lately, has made me question my unending adoration of little girls.
I want to know why no one warned me that "teenager" started WAY before 13.
Like, years before.

And I will love her through it all.
Even if I don't like her some days.
We will be friends again when she's 24.

Until then, we will muddle our way through as she transforms, slowly, into a beautiful and confident woman.

I love him.
I don't get many good shots of this cute boy.
He wiggles a lot.

And he really likes to chew gum.

That little one on the right?
He was not in a mood for having his picture taken.
So there aren't any.

Except this lovely group shot.
There are only about 10 of these on my computer.
And this was the best one.

Little, drive-you-crazy, and somehow, still-adore-them, loves.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Photo courtesy of April Allsyon Abel, a woman who inspires daily invention. 

People think up new ideas all the time.
Some people just think about them.
Other people do more than just think.

They take action.

I wonder who has better odds of success - the folks who act on every single idea, or the ones who really focus on just one thing and make it happen?
Is it like sales? The more calls you make, inherently by statistic,  the better your numbers are?

But what if the invention is yourself?

I used the be the kind of person who picked one thing and went after it with all the force and focus I could muster.
Pretty exhausting when the one thing turns out to be the wrong thing.
Or at least wrong for me.

Alas, in my "old" age, I don't know what the one thing is anymore.
I find myself stirring and jumping into 12 different pots at once, having no real clue which one is "right".
But I do know what is wrong, so I guess that's something.

Maybe there isn't a right answer. Maybe our parents idea of picking something, one thing, and doing it forever and forever isn't the right way, just the way they did it. Maybe the world really is different now.

Can we be happy with an undefined career?
No, that's not a cop-out or a carefully worded disguise for no career.
Is a broad brush better than a pigeon hole? I don't know.

But the truth is, no matter what, staying relevant in this world is hard. Really hard.

Everyone wants to be relevant.
Everyone needs to be relevant.
Our disposable mindset moves from objects to people.

Does constant reinvention keep us out of the trash?
It sure can keep you busy. I know that much.
Getting comfortable with the great unknown, closing your eyes and jumping takes some getting used to.
Ah, but the promise of true fulfillment is an addicting chase.

I have never taken bigger leaps than I have over the past few years, and for the first time, I  see a real opportunity to live a complete life. I just have no idea which pot I will end up in.

Scariest. Thing. Ever.
Tossing the comfort and camaraderie of common daily misery is, well, nausea-inducing.

So, I offer applause to all my friends and colleagues who have chosen to stand, undefined, proudly reinventing for a greater purpose, and a chance live truthfully, as they are.

Much love and admiration.