Monday, May 13, 2013
I agree, in theory, that we should make our lives count, and that we shouldn't always be putting off until tomorrow, etc. I *do* believe there's no time like the present for tackling issues like health, weight, exercise, even drinking a glass of water. Moreover, we *should* be concentrating on making our world a better place for those who dwell thereon.
However, I'm getting a little...overwhelmed?...by all the sayings about making every single moment count towards our one precious life. Don't the people who say these things ever...I dunno...take a long shower? Take three whole minutes to decide between navel and regular oranges? Press the snooze button on the alarm? Read the funnies in the newspaper?
These things that make up the minutiae of daily life don't seem to be contributing much to saving the planet, personal evolution, helping others or doing anything a darned bit of good. They could all honestly be labeled a "waste of time." But seriously, am I the only one who sees these minutes as the real fiber of life?
Long baths, snooze buttons and newspaper funnies (insert your own favorite time "wasters" here) make us the individuals that we are, and it is those individuals who can make a difference in the world. I suspect even Mother Theresa occasionally pondered what to put on her oatmeal (and probably chose nothing, but that's beside the point I'm trying to make here.)
If I truly had to evaluate whether every moment of my life was contributing in some way to my own good, let alone the overall good of all mankind, I think I'd forever be frozen in place. And that inability to move in *any* direction, because of the constant self-evaluation, truly would be a waste of time.
East or west, north or south? Buy this or that item? But what about fair trade? What about my own finances? What about sustainability? Nothing grows here in the winter, so what happens to eating locally? Juice!...but the juicer is made in China. Hydrofracking may ruin the environment, but if it doesn't, the many unemployed might find good jobs, which would support local sustainability. Wait, shouldn't I be writing deathless prose instead of griping on Spark People?... But what about washing the dishes?
I guess my point here is that people are composed of many parts, and some of these parts delight in "wasting" time - indeed, it defines them. I'm not advocating that we all blow off our good deeds and our healthy habits, but a day spent drinking tea and watching Hoarders reruns isn't something we should feel guilty about. Yes, there probably are folks who endeavor to make every minute count, who leap from bed every morning and head out to slay the dragons of the unfortunate, but we mere mortals don't stand a chance of living up to the standards set by these paragons - and I'm not sure even paragons always meet their own standards.
So I'm finished feeling guilty.
I'm just sayin'.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
How could the years have gone by so quickly when some of the afternoons of toddlerhood were so incredibly long?
Friday, May 10, 2013
The real estate closing finally went through, so I now don't need to move. I have a (small) nest egg, a steady income through the mortgage (which I'm holding, not because a bank wouldn't accept the borrowers - I learned that lesson years ago - but because the buyers are Amish and don't want to deal with "English" banks right now. It's all good - no worries) and several part-time jobs that I love - one as greenhouse keeper and landscaper for Heritage Farm ( heritagefarminc.org ), one writing, one growing organic things and one doing artsy stuff. I'll get the links up for those in the near future, for anyone who wants to know what I do in my "spare time".
I've been marginally interested in the fact that I seem to have grown some sort of emotional exoskeleton that is fear-proof. I'm not afraid of change, but I'm not especially interested in it, either...no fear, but no...other emotions that humans seem to relish. But that's not what we're here to talk about.
Parenthetical: (I've finally come to terms with the fact that, as a widow, an orphan with no relatives and an empty-nest person with no money to speak of, I have no one to please and no one to whom to be accountable but myself. I'm trying to figure out where one goes from here. I really am trying, and thanks to Bereavement counseling, I'm making some progress.)
Anyway, the thing about the land sale that becomes relevant here is that, now that I have money to spend on stuff, I seem to have reverted to old bad habits - too much salt, too much alcohol (can you read "margaritas" in this?") and generally eating Whatever instead of planning decent food. This, obviously, is not acceptable. I'm halfway through my weight loss, and I'll be damned if I'm going to regain the first half rather than going on to lose the second.
I bought a juicer (a Samson ...Advanced? Evolved? Improved? Anyway, better than the last one) and am preparing to do a Juice Reboot ( http://www.rebootwithjoe.com/ ) Please don't tell me how this isn't good for me long term - I don't intend to do it long term. I just need something incredibly structured to get myself turned around to face front again. I'm also growing wheatgrass to juice - the cats ate my first batch, but I'm replanting.
As if that weren't enough, I'm also doing the Spring Into Summer Challenge. Responsibility, thy name is Scooter. I will do for others what I would never bother to do for myself (we'll address that another time as well), so in order not to let my team down, I'll keep up with it. All the weighing and measuring and recording and generally trying to Play Well with Others.
I figure that between buying a new piece of moderately expensive kitchen equipment and being in a situation where others count on me, my Scots blood will keep me on track.
In fact, I'm seriously considering having the MacNeal badge tattooed on my person. It wouldn't be my first ink...that was 18 years ago, when my baby went to kindergarten. I took a sledgehammer to my bathroom, sold my Mercedes for $1 to the bathroom repair man - it needed $10,000 worth of body work - and got my first tattoo. Yet another thing for another day. I'll apparently be bending your ears (eyes?) for some time to come.
Saturday, April 27, 2013
Well. It looks as though last year's experiment - let the back yard go totally wild, and have a lovely meadow full of flowers - was a Complete Fail. Rather than a meadow, I got a scrubby patch full of burdock and brambles, studded here and there with hidden piles of dog...leavings. The point of the trial - aside from sheer laziness - was that a friend had reported great success with this, and that the yard is extremely uneven, everything from trees coming out (or going in) to a sinking leach field to Lord alone knows what other reasons.
I thought I'd spend today out there hauling out a large hunk of a cherry tree, an apple tree that died but resprouted from the root stock (which never works, incidentally - they graft the good apple tree onto different root stock and you rarely get anything usable from the regrowth), digging out the burdock and the brambles, raking everything out and generally getting ready for this summer, in which I'll do everything differently.
About an hour into this, I realized that the only progress Lucy the Dog and I had made was that we were both covered with burdock pricklies. We also discovered that the wire fence (that covers and is taller than the post fence to which it is attached) has come down in several places. If it were a house, we would say, "This is no longer a fix-up. This is a teardown."
So I went inside to consider and retrench. New plan: on Monday I'm going to retrieve my tractor from my neighbor. After he starts my chainsaw for me ( ) I'm going to cut down the apple tree that is regrowing, the 1/3 of the cherry tree that blew down in a winter storm (we'll see if it lives - I hope so), and then hook the rake onto the tractor and rake it that way. I'll need to go back and dig out the brambles, but all the dead grass will be done with. Then, I think, I'm going to try smoothing out the lumps with the back blade. If that doesn't work, I'll borrow the backhoe. Have to be careful of weight, though, because of the Stupid Leach Field. Once it's leveled, the grass should come back easily and I can proceed with Normal Yard. Need a new grade door out there too (that's that slanted door that covers the steps to a cellar) - mine apparently gave up under the snow load.
Not sure yet how to handle the fence. I really ought to unfasten all the wire, lay stone, then put the fence up again so the grass won't grow and the base (and thus no whacking) but I doubt I'll do that properly. I'll probably whack it once, then lay newspaper over it, then mulch and hope for the best.
The front gardens are still waiting for their fall clean-up, so I need to get busy on that right away. Part of the stone wall fell out - again - so I may pull that all down and relay it, but I seriously doubt it. Likely I'll just put the stones in a neat pile and hope for the best (you'll note I do a lot of that.)
Have to chop out half the rugosa, which is now roughly the size of a small SUV, and chop down the Japanese honeysuckle (again.) Maybe I'll chain it to the tractor and just rip it out. Messy but quick.
Then the raised beds have to be cleaned up and the paths around then cleared and re-papered and mulched.
And that's all before any planting can happen. Luckily there are some bulbs blooming here and there to encourage me.
But luckily (I suppose...) I have about another month before I can really plant anything, because of our absurdly late frost date - and I hate ditzing with plants, dashing out to cover them if they are in danger. I plant them once and wish them well. Sure, I do all the maintenance type stuff, but that's later, and it's fun, I think.
The "Life" part comes in when you realize that this would have been much simpler if I'd attended to it properly last fall. Like so many Life Issues, the old Stitch In Time thing pertains. Also, that things happen when you're not looking - the wall falls down, the tree splits, the grade door caves in, there's a giant ant nest in the fire circle - and they are, in all probability, not going to be discoveries that will be good news I'm sure there's some lesson here that I ought to learn, but probably won't.
Here's what it looked like last year:
And I'm not just an enthusiast - I'm a NY certified landscaper, arborist and master gardener, so if anyone has a problem (anything, if you're in the northeast, only very general stuff if you're in, say, Texas), describe it to me and I'll try to have an answer for you, or at least tell you whom to ask.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
On the way home from fetching cat food, I was listening to NPR. They were talking about the flooding on the Mississippi, and how it's difficult to get cooperation because it passes through so many different jurisdictions. The commentator said, "It's like a child with 800 parrots, but he's an orphan."
"Yeesh", I thought. "If my son had 800 parrots, I'd leave home, too."
I was a good ten miles farther along before I realized he'd said 800 *parents*.
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