Monday, September 1, 2014

Currently-The Less-Sappy-Than-I-Thought Edition

Third sister pending. Kimmy's and my new "sister" tattoos. 


I haven't done a Currently  in a very long time; over a year, I'm sure. I am just now getting back into public writing after my life fell apart. It's a good sign that I am on the mend. I am hoping that I won't get emo, but I really don't think about what I am going to write for these posts until I am writing. So let's get started.

I am currently needing nothing. I have a roof over my head, a bike and a bus pass, a phone in my name (woohoo!!!!), my bills are up to date, my credit is mending, my sister will be here tomorrow, the kids are relatively healthy, enough food in the house, money in the bank, a cool, but not cold night, a sweet new sister tattoo, glasses that let me see what I am writing, and a set of panniers for my bikecycle on the way!! Wanting is another story though!

What/ who am I missing? I am missing my friends in Phoenix and Seattle, the love of a partner, the feeling of air on my skin when I ride my bike down the hills, my Minnesota family and the state in general, and I think that's it.

Reading, reading, reading...that's all I do in grad school. I am currently reading The Shipping News and Beautiful Girls for my own pleasure, and Making Healthy Places:Designing and Building for Health, Well-being, and Sustainability and Health and Community Design: The Impact of the Built Environment on Human Activity for a class. I am also reading an article called, The Impact of Community Design and Land Use Choices on Public Health: A Scientific Research Agenda. I know you're jealous. These last three are thrilling reads!

I am hoping for so many things. Some things that I am hoping for are too much for me to type out, but I will try. I am hoping my heart will mend. I am hoping that I will not feel broken forever and that I will be able to love again. I am hoping that trust in others will come back. I am hoping that someday I will be able to show my kids that love really is possible and can be worked through. I am hoping for her struggle to be understood and dealt with. I am hoping that my days are full of love and laughter. I am hoping that, one day, I will find myself again.

We have been playing a lot of board games and card games lately. I love playing with my boys, but so often, I am busy trying to keep the house running somewhat smoothly. Some days they understand and some days they feel robbed of a mom. Being a single mom to three is challenging. We've also been exploring and playing a ton of new music. Thank you, Spotify,  for your unending lists of suggestions!

That concludes my ramblings. Have a super safe week and remember that every person you meet is fighting a battle. Love and compassion will be what saves us. Smile at a stranger, strike up a conversation, call a long lost friend you haven't spoken to in forever. Whatever you do, do it with love; lead with your heart.

God and Not Having a Car

It's been said that God gives you what you can't give yourself. Sometimes, God's like, "Hey! Asshole! I keep trying to tell you this in nice ways, but you don't listen, so I am going to do something extremely painful." And sometimes, I hear that whisper the first time and listen. I am not religious. For me, God is nature, the sun, laughter, smiles, strangers with messages, life happening around me, friends, plants, science, hope, creativity, books, and love. I use the name God generically and interchangeably with the Universe, Goddess, Love, Inner Voice, and Nature. I hear God through my intuition, other peoples words, books, and poems. I know I can trust that all will be okay if I do the footwork and wait for the answer.

The chain of events leading up to this post:

March 2014:
The whisper: This guy is a fraud. Don't buy the car.
Ignored.
My plan: Buy the car without an inspection. Believe the dude is honest and good.
The reaction: Car breaks after 83 miles. I sue and win, but still don't have my money. 
God's reaction: "I told you so, Dumbass."
The repercussion: I have to borrow cars until I get the money or the car becomes available. I borrow T's car that I just gave back three days before. 

May 2014:
The Whisper: Give the car back and get off of T's phone plan. Autonomy. 
Ignored. 
My Plan: Call T and make a mess of something that didn't need to be messy. 
The reaction: She got pissed and took away the car and shut off my phone. Quite warranted.  
God's reaction: "I told you so, Dumbass." 
The repercussion: No car. On my parent's phone plan. Must borrow cars from friends and sister. 

August 2014:
The Whisper: It's getting close to the time you won't have a car. Get a good bike and bus passes. 
Listened! 
My plan: Keep calm and know that all will work out as it is supposed to. Stop worrying because I have never been left without a solution if I chose to listen. Buy a great 24-speed road bike, get a free bus pass from work, and make the kids ride the bus all the time. 
The reaction: Kids are put out. I feel free.  
God's reaction: "Are you finally getting it, Numbskull?"
The repercussion: Strong body, gaining spiritual strength, kids who know how to ride public transit and are grateful when we have a car, an awesome bike, more money, I have gas money still in my account, and a smaller carbon footprint. We only buy what is truly necessary at the store because too much stuff equals too heavy on my bike and a pain in the ass to get home on the bus. 

The moral of this story is that when I listen to my intuition (God, Higher Power, the Universe, what-have-you), I reduce my stress level, save money, stay fit, and the biggest lesson: I have been wanting to ditch the car as my main mode of transport for many years. I made many excuses why I couldn't, but still I knew that I should. God had a plan to get me there and when I quit fighting, God did for me what I couldn't do for myself. "Trust in the plan, Jen."

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Thrifty School Shopping



5 Shirts
6 Pairs of Shorts
2 Pairs of Pants
2 Long Sleeve Shirts
1 Winter Coat

Abercrombie
Quicksilver
Volcom
Levis
Lng
Vans
Tony Hawk
PaperDenim&Cloth

$54.00

Carbon Footprint: Less than an 1/8 of a tank of gas

Buying clothes has to be the most expensive thing a parent does, next to feeding kids and sending them on field trips. There's no way I could afford to take three boys to the mall and get all new clothes. Besides, I can't even imagine my carbon footprint if I did. We all like new stuff every once in a while, but most of this garb is next to new and the boys are super happy!

I uploaded my favorite thrift store videos for your view enjoyment!


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Terribly Slow and Not-So-Steady

I pretty much fell apart and have been sweeping up the pieces since Tris left our family to pursue her own healing and well-being. I don't blame her in any way. She had to do what she felt needed to be done, and in a way, I think she is the bravest person I know. She walked her own path and it cost her, the boys, and I everything. I am no saint, I do get angry and I still cry every day, but I also tell myself that she is good and deserves to make her own way in this world. Our family still misses her every day.

For my part, I have become fairly depressed. Homemade dinners gave way to frozen and boxed foods more nights than not; when the kids aren't home, I don't really eat anyway. The garden looks like shit. I don't have the energy to water or weed it after 8 or more hours working outside. I even bought an elderberry bush for the garden so I could have fresh berries for medicinal uses, as well as food. It's still in it's pot waiting to be planted. (Now that I have typed this out, it will be in the ground by this evening.) My worms in my kitchen compost have all mostly passed on; I saw a few today when I fed and watered them. My bakashi compost bucket was empty until 20 minutes ago. It's been pretty lame. I have been trying to figure out the point of life when the love of your life has flown the coop.

I am writing today to say that I have started the Bokashi compost again, I have mango fruit leather in the oven, and the worm bin was tended to. I am trying to come back. I really am. Any encouragement that doesn't start with, "Time heals all wounds" will be greatly appreciated.

I guess I better get to digging the hole for the elderberry bush.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

New Life

It's with a heavy heart that I write this first blog of the gardening season. Currently, we are one queer hippie. T is gone (for right now, at least). I don't think I need to go into the details, but suffice it to say that spending time in the garden is both joyous and extremely sad. Knowing that things are going to grow is exciting and heartbreaking. My partner won't be here to share my bounty with, she won't be here to watch things grow with, she won't be here to make fun of me when I squeal with delight as each seedling pops out of the ground. For now, she is gone. For now, my contentment in weeding and watering is followed by a feeling that the air is being sucked out of a hole in my chest. She will always be the greatest love of my life. She is growing in her own way. And so am I. I hope this summer brings tremendous growth to everything. Enough of the emoting, here are some pictures of what is happening right now in the garden.

My downstairs neighbors are starting their plot on this lovely afternoon. Can you believe a week ago today it snowed?!

We should have a nice haul of strawberries in June. This year, they started flowering in March. The earliest flowers yet. 

Onion flowers. These onions are so potent that they make my eyes water when I eat them. 

Woohoo!!!! My favorite medicinal flower, borage, is volunteering this years crop. I cannot wait to see them. 

I went bulk trash shopping and found a whole crib. I made pea trellises out of the two ends. The other two sides, I will bury in another part of the garden for more peas. 

Garlic and onions. I will be planting the second round of bulbs tomorrow. 

Number Three is watering in this glorious sunshine and warmth. He surprised me at the garden and wanted to help. I gave up asking the boys to help me last year. When we did it as a whole family it was awesome, but they only want to text and play on their Nooks (the worst idea for a Christmas present I ever had). 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

School lunches, going back, and acorn squash |currently

That's an acorn squash from my garden. I'm hoping to get more like her soon. 
I missed the deadline for linking this week's list to the other currently posters, but I will write anyway because I am about to embark on grad school drudgery and will have less time to write. T has moved back home and things are difficult as we navigate our way through parenting, seeing each other everyday, relationship expectations and living in a small place with nowhere to hide from each other.

This weeks currently:

Spending as much time as possible planning dinners, lunches, new routines, routes, schedules, meetings, and downtime in anticipation of a crazy first year of graduate school. I am having doubts that I want to go on with my schooling. I'm not sure what it will get me in the end, but onward I move. I am sure that when I get into the groove of this crazy, hectic schedule, I will know that I made the right decision.

Saving sunflower seeds. One of the big sunflowers that I had planted last year dropped seeds before I could collect them, so I had volunteer sunflowers in the garden this year. Tomorrow I need to go to the garden and cut 'er down so I can save those seeds, or eat them, or both. Some of my fellow gardeners have let their food go to head, so I am hoping to save those seeds as well.

Speaking less and less these days. I am finding that I don't have much to say and listening is a much better option for me. Don't get me wrong, when you get me started, I will talk your ear off. As the weather cools, I return inward.

Going to meeting after meeting is exhausting. I have a book study tomorrow regarding A Course in Miracles, then another meeting on Tuesday, then a garden meeting on Wednesday. Thursday and Friday are chock full of meetings for grad school orientation. I am already missing my weekend as I sit here on a Sunday night and prepare for all of these meetings! Good golly!

Sharing the blog 100 Days of Real Food. This blog has inspired me to get back on the healthi(er) train. I am a vegetarian who (very) occasionally eats fish (wild caught) but mostly likes vegan faire. This blog has made me a better lunch packer already! Tomorrow's lunches include egg and cheese burritos, smoothies (almond milk, banana, flax meal, and peanut butter), an apple, and dried coconut. I will be making tomato bisque for Tuesdays lunch tomorrow (in between meetings). This will also help me eat better because I can pack my lunch at the same time as I pack the boys.

I am hoping to get a few more awesome posts in before my classes begin.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Garden 2013

I am finally posting pictures of our garden. I gave spent about 5 hours the last two days pulling weeds from around my bed and from others beds. The rains have been crazy awesome this year; just downpour after downpour. The garden eats are loving it, but so are the weeds. Yesterday, I spread alpaca poo on the beds for a little extra midsummer nutrition. That was foul! It and I smelled so bad! Alas, it will all be worth it! Without further ado, the Garden 2013!

At the beginning of the season, nothing that I planted was coming up. Rather than waste the space, I planted a ton of beans. I was so frustrated that I didn't write down what beans I planted. So...surprise! 

Crazy pumpkins! They are taking over. Hopefully these are half pie pumpkins and half jack-o-lantern pumpkins. At the bottom right corner, you can see the watermelon fighting for it's share of the nutrients and solar energy.

After I planted all those beans, I decided to lay straw down and BOOM! The parsley, carrots, lettuce, and chives decided to make and appearance!

Corn! Blue, white and hopi corn. Based on a friend's recently posted garden pictures, I should be getting ears in the next month or so. A harvest just in time for tofurkey day.  

A baby pumpkin, tucked in its manger of straw. So happy to see this little guy thriving! As soon as he is a bit bigger, I should be able to tell which of the two kinds he might be. 

One of my favorite patches: Hutterite soup beans, strawberries, and borage. We ate all of the strawberries last month. The borage is blooming like crazy and next week, I will be making conserves from the flowers. Borage conserves are good for curing fever.  

We have an over abundance of wild sunflowers in our garden. I pull them like weeds, but other gardeners love them! 

Last year I couldn't get a tomato to grow in our garden (the potted tomatoes did fine), but this is a tomato year! So many flowers, so many tomatoes. I hope they ripen soon. I'm getting hungry. 

Our first tomato is looking good! 

An overview of Plot 14. 

I started sweet potatoes today. I was hesitant to grow anything in a tire, but I don't even know if they will grow. I am super hoping though. 

A closer view.