Friday, February 29, 2008

I prepared "plenty" of food last night, but I'd eaten most of it before I even left work. Eeek! I was pretty hungry most of the day. It wasn't until I'd eaten my way through four plain hamburger patties (the small ones) from McDonald's at Walmart that I realized I was hungry because I was hungry. Ooops.

I lost a couple pounds back when I had the migraine, and I gained one of them back, darn it. I forgot to measure my waist, though, so I don't think it'll be too bad. I'm keeping my carbs well under 20 today, and I have more energy and fewer side effects from the medication, and I'm only on day 4.

A high-fat, or "ketogenic" diet, has been used with the "helpless" epileptic cases. They don't know why it works, but it works. If the patient eats a candy bar, BAM, they have a seizure. If they eat fat, low carbs, and protein they're fine. Antiseizure drugs are used more and more on the bipolar population, so I think there's a good chance that Atkins could help with my symptoms. I'm not suicidal, OF COURSE I'm taking my pills, but so far the evidence seems to prove my theory. Hey, I'm just happy to lose the damned postural hypotension. Ugh. Every time I would change position I'd get dizzy and almost black out. Now I can actually consider using my weights again.

We had two repairmen come out today. The food and coffee machine guy fixed them both. The Dr Pepper guy said we have a bad ballast (VERY BAD!). He has to get the part. It's a good machine, overall, so I'm not going to complain. You should see it on Mondays, it's always empty. I had a lot of running around and meet and greets. I was glad I told Ron to plan an extra hour, we both needed it. It all worked out, snacks are great and I helped Ron stock sodas. Tomorrow we'll go in to do some housekeeping type things.

I really hate traveling on the first of the month but Ron pleaded, looking at me with those big, blind green eyes. I couldn't say no! I'll take a book if I end up waiting outside on the pickup.

When I was at Walmart I got loads of meat, more of the "Carne Picada" thin sliced pork strips, hamburger patties, Chappel Hill sausage (soooo good!), bacon, and precooked, frozen pork sausage patties. They're very good and quick. I plan to go to the "Nice" supermarket tomorrow and get some shrimp. Won't they be delicious, dipped in warm butter?

It seemed like everytime I was about to give up today, I encountered a massive individual struggling to breathe. God really knows how to motivate me. No. Not if I can help it!

One of my Malabar spinach finally sprouted. After I'm done here I'm going to go check on the outside plants. They all seem happy, though.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

I knew it would be better

I just had to delete some spam from my comments. Yeah, like I'm dumb enough to post spam here.

It had to be a better day. I didn't make myself enough food, so I went around STARVING all day (that's where I cheated and ate the soynuts). I finally got home after work, and running errands with Ron and fixed myself a lovely bowl of microwaved broccoli with loads of butter (1/2 cup broccoli, 2 T butter).

Ron was kind enough to fix the last of the bacon for me. True love indeed. He's spent $70 on supplies for my compost bin? I told him, I can get one online but no. He wants to make me one, so I'll "Let" him. He's a good husband. I'll just make sure I get the best wood sealer I can to make sure his treasure lasts a long time.

We had frosts the last 2 nights. My tomato covers worked well, no damage. My marigolds, well some of them are dead, some of them are looking like they wished they were. In my experience, marigolds are very tough, and to be horrible, I do have another 6-pack of marigolds. I can just pop new ones in and compost the old. I did lose one lettuce transplant (but I have an understudy), but the nasturtiums all did fine. You'd never guess we had a frost to look at them. My root crops and chard look absoutely fine. I covered my lettuce bed with a sheet and everyone under it is fine. Yay. The worst problem I had (I didn't go out yesterday 'cause of the migraine) was a little dried out soil in a few beds and a cat kicked mulch over the "bean field".

When I went out early this morning to take my covers off the plants, the dog out back went nuts barking. I heard an owner go out and scold him. I just went about my business. Ron had the tape recorder going.

Today the dog has been exceptionally quiet AND bam-bam only just got home to practice on the drums. I just need to wash all my dishes, fix some tuna salad for dinner, and make some food to take out tomorrow.

I don't want to get caught out hungry again.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

It figures

I just did a property records search on the house behind us. Surprise. The owner moved to California and is renting the house. That certainly explains the obnoxious "ghetto" dog, the rudeness, and the drumming. The BAD drumming. Ron and I are going to contact the owner and file a barking dog nuisance court claim. Someone at the local law enforcement told us how to do it. On the one hand, the evil part of me hopes that they're trashing the inside of the house like they're trashing peace and quiet, but on the other hand, the owner herself is a nice person. I won't wish anything like that on her. I just hope we can get these tenants in line. I'm sorry, but it's always the renters who drag a neighborhood down. They don't respect it, because they have no real investment. My opinion.

Remember the other post when I said my bad days are on Tuesdays? Well, today was a very bad day. I woke up with a migraine from the low-carb shakes I drank yesterday (I assume). I nearly vomited in public on more than one occasion. Our ride home was flushed down the toilet and just a circus. When we got to Krogers to pay some bills and buy Ron a Metrolift pass (and me tickets), the "courtesy booth" was closed. Boy was it ever. I would NEVER EVER turn my back on a customer when they were talking to me, much less interrupt them and tell them "You'll just have to wait, then." So much for them opening at 8 AM, or even 12 like she told us, it wasn't open until 12:15. Our ride home was so screwed it worked out anyway but still.

Oh, yeah, and a Postal Worker broke a food machine and the guy who was supposed to bring us the sporks brought us granulated sugar packets. I told him no. He says he'll come back tomorrow. I'm sorry, but can't the man READ? It just typifies working with Vistar. You order one thing, they give you another and then they wonder why you object.

When we finally did get home, we had to deal with "Barky" and "Bam-Bam" the wanna-be drummer. I managed to curl up in a ball and drift off. When I woke up, Bubba cat was growling at something. I looked outside (I left the blinds slightly open), and some guy's in my backyard staring back at me. I opened the glass door "What the hell are you doing in my yard?" Oh, he's turning on the cable for Barky and Bam-Bam. I wished him good luck with the pit bull. "What pit bull" I pointed over the fence at Barky.

"Oh, that's not a pit bull, he looks like Benjy."

So? It's obnoxious.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Induction

Well, I decided to view the dog out back as a postive thing. About 2 years ago, kids from the bad part of town raided our subdivision. They spray-painted truly foul words on the garage doors and spray painted a phrase on our driveway (not profane). Anyway, they got in through the back. They climbed the fence out back, dragging something over to the fence, to get in our yard. That's when I started locking my "cage door" as I call it, a swinging burglar bar door that covers my sliding glass door in the bedroom. I'm blessed they didn't have rape on their minds. With a pitbull on the other side of our back fence, no one's going to try that again ever. It's not a bad dog, it's just tiring. These same neighbors have begun drum practice every afternoon during my nap time. AAAAGH.

I got tired of being angry at myself for getting fat again. I "Inducted" on Atkins. No starch, no sugar. Just leafy green carbs (mainly), with a little summer squash, pumpkin, or other brightly colored veggies. I drank 3 quarts of water today to flush out all the toxins. I easily consume a gallon of liquid every day anyways so it isn't hard.

I'm allowing myself:
2 cans of diet soda (sweetened with Splenda) - Diet RC cola
Have to drink 2-3 quarts of water, before I can drink my Cherry Cola Diet Rites in the evening (no caffeine, and they have Splenda).

Ron said it beautifully last night "You're already growing all the things you can eat". He's right. Leafy cooked greens, deep green and red leaf lettuce, broccoli raab, etc. All low carb, all delicious and nutritious. Today I ate tuna and egg salad, some thin sliced pan seared pork (cooked in oil with a whisper of sage and pepper), and some veggies. I had a theory which worked. If I shred summer squash, I can saute it and eat it. It's delicious. It doesn't have that ghastly spongy texture that makes me gag. I need to buy some organic leaf lettuce mix and some oil and vinegar dressing (ideally organic as well). That's it.

I'm avoiding processed foods (except for the sodas) and eating all the fat and protein I desire. I've already noticed improvements. I wasn't as foggy in my thinking and I could bend over and stand up suddenly without the awful drop in blood pressure. Awesome.

It's going to get cold tonight so I covered up my tomato

I just ran out of the house, yelling "Oh, my GOD!". I had forgotten to bring in my small potted tomato plants. See, it's going to get cold tonight, mid 30's. I covered up each big plant in the ground with a large, heavy-duty "contractor" 55 gallon trash bag. Then I placed a blanket over that and secured the whole works with various clothespins. Just now, I brought in my small potted tomato plants (I'd already brought in the marigold six-pack I bought today).

We're going to a strip center tomorrow that has a dollar store. I'm hoping to get more popsicle sticks and maybe some "T" style plant labels.

So far the induction has gone really well for me. I guess tomorrow is going to be the big test. We have to work but not very long, then a quick errand and we run home.

I need to lose about a foot off my waist. I measured. YUCK. My goal weight is around 145.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Dumb S**t that's been setting me off lately

Recently I've been a little irritable, and normal peeves have really got me steaming. I'm not about to "go off" on anyone, but I thought maybe I'd share it and you could get a laugh over the stupid crap that pushes my buttons.

  • The people behind us (we live in a nice area) own a pitbull. Why? It's a nice safe area, no robberies, no violent crimes. The worst we get is a car burglary. So why the 90 pound monster? All it does it BARK BARK BARK all day and night. It barks at me when I'm in my own back yard. Thank God we have a 5 foot high wooden fence (reasonably sturdy). On the plus side, the local law allows us to call in a noise complaint on barking dogs late at night, and when the owner let the dog out today and it barked at me she corrected him. How nice that I can enjoy my own yard, except for the BARKING. UGH.

  • Strange children coming up to me and asking me questions. Don't their parents know about CHILD MOLESTERS and CRAZY people like me? They all seem to be rude and intrusive. The little boy next door almost neutered himself on New Year's. He came running over onto our property and stood right over a rocket I was in the process of lighting (I was able to get the lighter away in time). I don't have kids for a reason. I am not dangerous (unless you are a leaf-footed stinkbug), but I could be. The parents don't know - they're never around! I've had neighbor kids walking into my house without invitation(to "pet the cat"). They have no idea. I'm safe, but other people aren't. But I can't say anything because that means I'm telling them how to parent, or "interfering" with the child-raising. I try to be polite and dismissive, but I really worry about those kids. The world is not gentle. AGH. Ron, by the way, told the "walking in the house" kids not to come over after that, because "We're very tired after work".

  • My biggest peeve, blind people who won't admit it. If you can't read print and barely walk a straight line, YOU ARE BLIND. Admit it. Get over it. Carry a white cane so people know you are blind - even the thugs, crackheads, homeless, and prostitutes are helpful (ask my husband, who's gotten help from all of them at times). The worst problem Ron ever encountered was in an apartment complex. He was coming home from work late one night and the drug dealer on the corner stopped him. "Don't step on the cat, man. He's lying right across the sidewalk." The cat got up and greeted Ron. "Oh, you feed him too?" Yes, we did. It was our cat. The drug dealer confided "He really likes hot links." No one is going to "Pop you in the head and rob you" like we were told by one woman. See, she lived on the third floor, she was blind but wouldn't carry a white cane. She wanted the Metrolift driver to come up 3 flights of stairs and then walk her down them. "Because I have a little trouble seeing." Ron asked if she was blind and she said yes, but "I don't want anyone to know." No, she's going to put everyone ELSE out so she can maintain a delusion. It was a nice apartment in a safe area, again, the worst crimes were car burglaries. I can understand the whole machismo thing with men, but women who won't carry a white cane baffle me. I admit my disabilies. I don't like them, wish I didn't need help, but I ask for the help I need and take care of everything I can on my own. That's the Independent Living philosophy: Do what you can, then get help.

  • Next peeve, people with a disability who act like the whole world is supposed to kiss their ass. I endure NASTY side effects so I am a pleasant, likable person. I know that no one deserves to deal with "Heather the Hatchet". Just because you have a physical or mental problem, doesn't entitle you to crap all over everyone else. We are not your servants. Having a disability doesn't mean you get to treat everyone else like crap, because you're mad. So what? We all are. To quote Jimmy Carter and my dad, "Life isn't fair".

  • Good example here, I had to edit the last thing because my spelling is atrocious when I'm taking my meds. So bad I typed "selling" instead of "spelling" just now. But I'm not screaming at the dog, which is barking again. It's not a bad dog, and no one's going through THAT yard to get to us. Ha ha.

  • I just talked to Ron, my husband. I told him "Hey, you're not on the list of things that piss me off!" How nice. Really. He's good for me.

  • Oh, here's my last one. Now, I'm fat. Clinically, I'm fat. I weigh about 75 pounds more than my ideal weight. OK? I ate all kinds of bad things when I was sick, making me fat. Now I'm medicated, but my pills can interfere with weight loss. My weight and size have been steady for months now. Eventually, I will start working out again, go lowest-carb, and lose it. I eat less than 100 grams of starch most days, and probably about 100 grams of sugary carbs. Total honesty here. I don't even tell my husband this. I eat moderately low carb, now I guess. "Induction" on Atkins is no sugar and less than 20 grams of leafy vegetable carbs every day. I'll get there. But it is disgusting to watch a morbidly obese person, too fat to fit into a minivan (I wish I were kidding) loading up the large van with powdered sugar drink mix, sodas, bread, pasta, TV dinners, beer, pastries, and desserts. No salad, very little meat. I see it. Then they complain about their health on the ride home? My arthritis is killing me? I BET! I try to keep my weight down, I'm not gorging myself at every opportunity. Ugh. Maybe God is using them to show me my future. But I would never end up like that. Never. The only thing worse than them are the diabetics who complain about their health on the way to dialysis, you're looking at them, they're easily 100 pounds overweight, and you know everything is THEIR FAULT. "My pancreas got overworked" one guy told me today. Well, who did that? It wasn't me! "I used to drink a lot back in the day" he said later. Exactly. Now the taxpayers are footing the bill for your bad judgement, but they won't help me get my medications so I can stay sane. It's a crazy world. '

Thank you. I feel much better. These are my opinions only. Take 'em or leave 'em. Like I told my husband "I don't think anyone's dumb enough to read a post entitled 'Things that piss me off' expecting an inspirational article."

Friday, February 22, 2008

My Favorite Garden Things

I had so much fun compiling this list.
Ames Lawn Buddy rolling cart/storage/seat
It's my best friend in the garden. This has got to be my most favorite garden thing ever. If you love a gardener who doesn't have one, buy them one. They will love it. I adore it. I can sit on it, and reach into it and grab my popsicle sticks for planting, it's got a removable tray to hold my plant labels, pens, and such, and it rolls. I love it. Love love love it. Best of all, I got mine for $30 from the Home Depot 2 years ago. If you have a garden, you must own one of these. A link: http://factorylawnandgarden.com/product/553936/B00004S1SU/Ames_True_Temper_Lawn_Buddy_2466010/

Emerald Edge weed barrier edging
Definitely my #2 favorite product. You can Google this. It's a rigid, thick green plastic edging. You loosen the soil (at least my clay) and hammer it in. Nothing gets through, and unlike that other flimsy rolled-up edging, or the linkable edging, it won't move. Once you put it in, it stays in, keeping away any invading weed roots. The Emerald Edge makes my garden beds (surrounded by bermuda weeds) so easy to maintain! I love the stuff, and plan to buy more once I do an inventory (I have a few areas of the cheap edging I plan to replace).

Epsoma Plant-Tone Fertilizer
Another fantastic product, I'm actually on my second bag. It goes on at a rate of about 1 T per square foot. It's complete, it's got everything my plants need in an organic form. It's easy to apply and my plants love it. It has a very low odor (compared to the fish meal I occasionally use - it's so fishy-vile that the cat tries to eat it). I grew fantastic cucumbers, tomatoes, and even melons in large pots my first year using Epsoma. That's the only source of nutrients they got, and I had wonderful, flavorful harvests. It's even better in-ground. Every plant loves it. It's very affordable, less than $7 for at least a 5 pound bag. 5 pounds lasts me at least a year (only 80 square feet of intensively planted garden beds).

Jiffy Pellets
Why would I ever want to give up my Jiffy Pellets? I've never understood the whole concept of planting seeds in flats and them ripping their roots to hell, praying that the damage isn't too bad, and then sticking them outside. Why not just inflate a Jiffy Pellet, drop in a seed or two, and watch it grow? When it's ready to transplant, you can harden it off in the pot, then plant the whole thing when it's time. When my plants germinate I use a very dilute solution of fish emulsion so they get a good meal. I use them in a tray (it's supposed to go under a window box planter, but it's sold seperately) that I keep in a window. I have a 17 watt grow light on top. Everyone looks great, even the notoriously hard-to-germinate celery. The only problem I have with the Jiffy's is when I plant two seeds and they both germinate. They can be divided, by the way. Ask my Stupice tomato plants out back. They're fine.

Seacom PGR
Seaweed is great for plants. It has all kinds of hormones and trace minerals they need. I may get some seaweed meal because I've got my Seacom. I got it from Johnny's Selected Seeds in Maine. It's wonderful. It's a good "mood stabilizer" for stressed out plants, and it makes a good foilar feed for new transplants (I mix it and keep it in a small spray bottle, then I spray the plants' leaves). I enjoy watering picky things like carrots and beets with the Seacom, because they need various amounts of varying trace minerals. Between the Seacom and the Epsoma, I know everyone's happy.

Popsicle Sticks
I love popsicle sticks. Since I use the square foot garden method, I need to keep track of the boundaries on each square foot. It's incredibly easy to just stick a popsicle stick in each corner and measure. When I plant seeds, I put a popsicle stick a half inch behind each seed to mark the germination points. If something's sprouting away from a popsicle stick, I pull it. I know it's a "bad guy" (plus I know what the seed leaves look like for the good guys). They're all-natural, safe, and cheap. I got over 200 at a dollar store (undyed) and I hope to find more at another dollar store. I love them, and I keep them in my garden cart at all times.

Plastic flexible ruler ("Flexi-Ruler") and yardstick
I use the square foot method, so I need to measure square feet. I'd been using clear, rigid plastic rulers. It was really hard to read the measurements though. This year, I got the "Flexi-Ruler"s at Walmart. They cost a dollar each. They're a flexible plastic, with white markings. It's very easy to read them and in the case of a raised bed, I can bend it to fit the contours of the soil.

The yardstick is great for measuring multiple square feet at a time. It's just a cheap wooden one with black markings I bought in the fabric department at Walmart. Between the rulers and the yardstick, I can measure anything to a "T". I love knowing my carrots are exactly 3 inches apart, or the bush beans 4 inches apart. I don't have enough space to waste.

Graph paper spiral notebook
I love this. I use my rulers and grid out the garden beds. When I'm planting, I mark the squares off. I can glance at my diagrams and figure out what goes where (oops, onions over there, have to move the pole beans). It's wonderful for visualizing what I want to do.

If you don't have any of these items, you might think about about getting them. They work well for me, and that's all that matters. I love to share my joy in gardening.

Toad refuge

Toads are really handy little garden critters. They eat bad bugs, make cool noises at night, and are completely harmless (unless you lick them like Homer did in that episode of "The Simpsons"). I like them.

I found one, medium sized, toad about a month ago. Today, while I was planting beans, a small one hopped into the middle of my garden bed. I watched it for a while while it hung out. I even petted him with a finger tip and he didn't mind, but when he hopped off towards Frosty the cat I captured him.

The Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening says that toads like a covered area in which they can hide, accessible only to them. I have a plastic garden cart. It holds about 6 cubic feet. If I store it "right side up" it fills with rain and gets swampy, breeding mosquitoes. I store it upside down. It only has an inch or two of clearance on one side, and the rest is sheltered and dark. It's a perfect toad hidey-hole, so I put "him" in there. Later on, I noticed a cat pawing vainly at the side of the cart, trying to get the nice juicy toad. The cats never hurt the toads but they love to bring them home to me. I'd rather not play "Garden Toad Roundup" in the house if I can help it.

What does Ron say? "Get the shoe!" Like he's going to clean up the mess. NO way.

So, what about the beans I was planting? I love "Royal Burgundy" beans. The first time I grew them they did very well with no problems. They were so easy I swore I'd always grow them. They have a good flavor, tolerate cold soils, and they're purple. Awesome.

I had two packets. I had one packet, vintage 2005. I also had another packet from Shumway I ordered about a month ago, 2 ounces of fun. I decided to plant two squares, one of each. I'm curious to see how they perform.

I finally, praise God, found another piece of the "Emerald Edge" weed barrier edging, 4 feet long. I desperately needed it for Garden Bed 3. I was so delighted I could dig out all the encroaching weeds, fork the ground, and hammer in the edging. Yay. The only thing better is the fact that I have the name now, which I can google and try to buy more.

I did a little more pounding-in of the fence posts. They're all sunk at least a foot deep in the ground now. I need to get that bird barrier netting, and plant some pole beans. Once the pole beans go in I'll string the netting over the back of the bed, so the veggies have 5 feet to climb. I would have liked 6 feet climbing space but I'm counting my blessings. I've had that same type of fence post in the back of Garden Bed 1 for years and it's worked very well. I'm not complaining, and I'll always go with a proven performer if I can.

I deadheaded a few marigolds (I throw the dead-heads into the garden bed for mulch), figured out where I'm going to put the nasturiums (2 have sprouted), and did a little allocating. I'm giving each tomato 4 square feet, and only growing the 4 tomatoes (at least in the spring season). I'd rather have 4 excellent plants in good health than 8 or 10 sickly ones, and I figure a little more room is a better idea.

I'm growing 4 types of pole beans:
Kentucky Wonder (also known as Texas Pole, which I like better)
Deans Purple (from Southern Exposure seed exchange)
Blue Lake pole
and Kentucky Blue.

I'll have a total of about 32 pole beans. That ought to be plenty for the both of us. I'm also growing Purple Hull cowpeas. I grew Cowpeas in pots, in 2005, and they did great. I know they'll appreciate my garden soil, and they have purple pods. They'll look awesome with the Royal Burgundy purple snap beans. From what I can gather, the purple podded beans are less tempting to bean beetles. I just love purple food.

Speaking of purple food, I'm debating if I want to get some "Merlot" from Frank Morton. It's a deeply purple lettuce. It's bolt-resistant. It's $3. Yes, I do. I'm going to wait on the kelp meal but I'm getting some purple lettuce. Right now.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Planting popsicle sticks

Ron's been in a really gloomy mood recently. Lots of negative energy. Ugh.

I was delighted to get the "Come in for an interview" letter from Metrolift. I'm about halfway to being approved. I have to remind myself to leave it up to God. If He wants me to get the service, I will. I have my interview on March 3. Yay.

We were supposed to get severe weather this afternoon. When I woke up from my nap, it was almost clear and sunny.

"To heck with it," I thought. I went outside and did a little weeding, mulched the beets, radishes, and chard, eyed the spot I've allocated for carrots.

I looked at the sky. Still overcast but no imminent rain. "I'm planting my carrots." And that's just what I did. 8 Short & Sweet, and 8 Chantenay, into one square foot of garden bed 2. I didn't manure half the bed, allocating it to "root crops". Manure can cause the root crops to get nasty, even if it is well-composted. I had one root crop square left, all my Houston and Texas garden books say it's not too late, so I'm planting some carrots.

I had a goofy clay clod or two from my previous cultivation (I am really leaning towards the no-till methods now), I picked them out and set them aside. When I planted my beets and radishes, I covered them in a 50/50 mixture of builders sand and pulverized compost. It worked great. Even the old seed germinated in those conditions, I like the method, and I'll do it everytime I direct seed into the garden. I spread a few cups of sand/compost in the square (foot) and smoothed it out. I "planted" popsicle sticks at the proper spacing, and planted the seed about a half inch in front of each popsicle stick. I covered up the seeds with an additional third of an inch of the mixture and gently watered it in. It is a fantastic method for me and it works great. When I see seed leaves popping up, I know automatically if they're "good" or "bad". It's a lot easier to weed something that's half an inch tall than something with a mighty root system.

I was skeptical enough that I did water it in. I felt foolish but I want my carrots to get a good start. Now I'm wondering, kelp meal? I love the idea, but I'm cheap.

I even found a cherry tomato on my Husky Red Cherry. It looks like I'll be serving some homegrown tomatoes when Mom and Dad come to visit in April. I really want to have a lovely salad for them. I need to plant some more radishes and beets, too. I was really happy to see that all my beets germinated. I got a mixture. It looks like about a third of it is "Bulls Blood". It sounds awful but the leaves are gorgeous.

Everyone else looks great. My collards are getting nice and tasty looking. In another month or so, I can start eating them. That reminds me, I do want to plant some more chard. I really like the way it looks in the garden. I don't like it raw but I can use one of those steam bags for the microwave. All my transplants look great, and I didn't have any real chores other than the very minor weeding. I sat on my rolling garden cart (it has a seat), drinking my Cherry Cola Diet Rite, just enjoying the ambiance.

I love my garden. The mosquitoes won't touch me now. Apparently the pink grapefruit body wash (from Softsoap) makes me smell bad. To them. ;-P

Have a good one!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My opinion of Obama

I'm going to say it; I've never trusted the man. Something about him puts the hair on the back of my neck up. I listen to my radar.

Genesis did this back in 1991. I edited the lyrics slightly.

You see the face on the tv screen
Coming at you every day
See that face on the billboard
That man is me
On the cover of the magazine
Theres no question why Im smiling
You buy a piece of paradise
You buy a piece of me
Ill get you everything you wanted
Ill get you everything you need
Dont need to believe in hereafter
Just believe in me
Cos jesus he knows me
And he knows Im right
Ive been talking to jesus all my life
Oh yes he knows me
And he knows Im right
And hes been telling me
Everything is alrightI believe in the family
With my ever loving wife beside me
But she dont know about my girlfriend
Or the man I met last night
Do you believe in my platform of peace and joy for everyone
Cos thats what Im selling
And if you wanna get to heaven
Ill see you right
You wont even have to leave your house
Or get outta your chair
You dont even have to touch that dial
Cos Im everywhere
And jesus he knows me
And he knows Im right
Ive been talking to jesus all my life
Oh yes he knows me
And he knows Im right
Well hes been telling me
Everythings gonna be alright
Wont find me practising what Im preaching
Wont find me making no sacrifice
But I can get you a pocketful of miracles
If you promise to be good, try to be nice
I will take good care of you
Just do as I say, dont do as I do
Im counting my blessings,
Ive found true happiness
Cos Im getting richer, day by day
You can find me in the phone book,
Just call my toll free number
You can do it anyway you want
Just vote right away
Therell be no doubt in your mind
Youll believe everything Im saying
If you wanna get closer to me
Get on your knees and start paying
Cos jesus he knows me
And he knows Im right
Ive been talking to jesus all my life
Oh yes he knows me
And he knows Im right
Well hes been telling me
Everythings gonna be alright, alright
Jesus he knows meJesus he knows me, you know...

My husband is black and he doesn't like Obama either.

Do you like my pedicure?

It was supposed to rain today. When I got up, the weather said 40% chance. I had an odd headache and a lot of lethargy today. Maybe it was the falling barometric pressure. It made for an uncomfortable morning, but I still had a lot of fun.

I checked on the babies in my garden first. All the transplants look great and the tomatoes look vigorous. The weather's warm and I'm not going to work. I woke jeans, sandals, and a t-shirt.

First stop, Walmart. I got my driver candy ($20). It looks like Hershey's is discontinuing the milk chocolate cherry cordial kisses. One of our drivers loves those things. I found a bag hiding in with the dark chocolate, so I got it. I have a nice mix of candy now that ought to last me for about a month. Yay. I like getting it first so it doesn't cut into my fun money.

Next stop, garden center. The employees all know me by sight; I got to talking with one guy and it turns out he loves beets. I'm going to grow some more and give them to him. He loves beets, I love growing them. I can't stand to eat them, though. I'm often there so when I harvest them odds are I'll see him. Good. I also got some carrot seed, "Short and Sweet". It's ready in about 2 months. I may be able to squeeze in a harvest before it gets too warm. Yum. I remember growing up in Virginia, we had a lady down the street who grew her own vegetables. She used to hand out carrots to the kids on Halloween. I remember being amazed at the lush tops. I guess Mom cooked them, I don't remember eating them raw.

I went ahead and got some 12 gram seed packets (Detroit beets, Champion radishes, I forget the third thing). It's easier than hassling with little ones. I got some more beans and marigolds. Ah, that was it, I got a 12 gram packet of double mixed bicolor marigolds. I got some more Jiffy Pellets (only available at Walmart in the spring) and some netting for my fence posts. It'll be a lot of fun when the plants start climbing the netting. I staggered the garden beds so nobody shades out anyone else, even factoring in the vertical growth/shade factor. I'm very pleased at my foresight. All told, the garden center only added another $20 to my total.

I finally broke down and got myself a bra. I'm a bigger band size, glad I checked. No wonder my current ones are uncomfortable. I'm not going to gnash my teeth, I'm not gaining weight and haven't for at least 8 months. I tried on a couple and was happy to discover that the cheap, $6 cotton bra was very comfortable. No way was I buying the $4 one, though. That looked awful. The other contender cost $14. Yay. If I really like it I'll get another one after I get paid. I read somewhere that they're only supposed to be good for a year or two anyway. Huh.

I got more soda! Two cases. Ron wanted a box of red wine and some popcorn, so his went in the cart too (he gave me his debit card). Exciting things like toilet bowl cleaner and all of a sudden, I realized that Ron forgot to call me. Our ride could be here NOW.

I raced to the checkout. A very nice lady rang me up. I bolted over to McDonalds and got us a couple of double cheeseburgers, just ketcup. Ron tried a bite of mine once and decided he liked it, so it's easy to order now. Right as I got our burgers, the Metrolift came.

Before I tell you about the ride home I'll remind you, I had a headache, I felt groggy and sick and wierd. I was determined to have a good day, though. We picked up another client, a middle-aged woman. She was wearing a work ID badge. She was sitting behind the driver and Ron and I were sitting in the back on the passenger side. She didn't meet our eyes or say anything. That's fine. Ron and I chatted amongst ourselves and with the driver. We're pretty outgoing. I felt odd, like someone was staring at me. I looked at the client.

I wore sandals today. Kind of a fake birkenstock, you can walk miles in them or stand on them all day long. They aren't the wimpy, strappy kind but they're feminine. I realized the client is glaring at my feet. No. I look again. Still glaring and staring at my feet. I look down at my feet. Still my feet. They look fine to me. I look at the client, she won't meet my eyes and she's still glaring.

"Do you like my pedicure?" I asked. She didn't respond, and I kept looking at her. Finally, she stops hating on my feet and stares at the wheelchair lift again. WEIRD.

Hm. That's up on my list of strange metrolift rides, right next to the time a mentally disabled client started groping at Ron's crotch, trying to get into his fanny pack. He was very cool about it, he just folded his arms over his waist and pressed down onto his fanny pack, saying "No" in a very calm voice.

After we got home, I told Ron I was very happy with how I handled the whole thing. "And I wasn't a bitch, either." He gives me the look that only a totally blind husband of 15 years can give.

"OK, I wasn't much of a bitch." He snickered. "As long as you know it."

My long-awaited book arrived later, and then we went to Half-Price books. I sold a couple of unwanted garden books and got a credit. I walked out with a Texas garden book and an old Sunset garden book "Vegetable Gardens". They both are a lot more relevant to my library.

When we got home, I was cranky. I told Ron I didn't want to take a nap, I wanted to garden. I realize I have to sacrifice quantity for quality but sometimes it's tough. When I woke up, it was raining. No gardening today!

I'm bagging up unwanted clothes right now for the Salvation Army. Like I told Ron, as I lose weight I can always buy more. My tastes run to jeans and tshirt so it's cheap to redo my wardrobe. Pretty much everything I wear comes from Walmart.

They're going to LOVE me in a couple of days. I've already got at least 2 huge "contractor" bags of clothes. Good stuff, clean and wearable. You could stock half the store with this stuff.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Win-win

I had a busy day out in the yard today. As soon as I woke up, I took the covers off the in-ground tomatoes and put out a tray of seedlings (mainly lettuce). The younger seedlings stayed inside until later.

Off to work, pretty quiet. The milkman had another crisis but the substitute managed to get the delivery to us on time. Amazing. Off to the bank (still no public bathroom, which I find incredibly rude), made the deposit. Then it was off to the "Warehouse" aka Sam's club. I needed candy bars, it's not urgent but we could run out in a couple days. Traditionally, this is the dead time so we're not worried about slow sales.

We had to ride around for a while after that, but the driver is a really nice lady. It wasn't bad, and it was a van so we weren't "sardines".

I took a nap when we got home, Ron did too and overslept. He missed his ride to Starbucks and called a cab. He should be home soon. Before he left we dragged all the metal junk out to the curb. I figured the "junk men/scavengers" would be by, but little did I know how fast they'd be. One guy was literally waiting at the curb for me to drag something out, and the rest vanished when I went indoors to the bathroom. Good! They can have it, make a few bucks, and I get to feel good for helping them out AND recycling. Definitely a win-win. Tomorrow, of course, we put out Papi's cans. From what I gather, he thinks we're fine people for doing so.

I used my garden as a reward for doing all the trash/junk disposal. I planted about 8 lettuce transplants, a dozen Safari marigolds (love those marigolds!), a broccoli raab, and 2 celery. I also did some minor weeding (very minor), and watered everyone in. It's going to rain tomorrow but I don't want my babies to dry out. The direct-seeded chard, the beets, and the radishes all look great. They don't have their first "true leaves" yet but they're vigorous. The garden really looks so much more cheerful with the marigolds.

The front border of garden bed 4 was bare. I plan to plant a bush winter squash in the bed. That's going to hog up 9 of the 16 square feet. Three more feet are taken up by 2 collards and about 15 onions. I also planted a row of onion transplants (I ran out of allocated space) along the west border of the bed. As I was falling asleep last night, I thought "A row of marigolds on the south border of garden bed 4 would be so cheerful! And they'd repel bugs." So I did it. I even allocated some space to 2 marigolds, as yet unplanted, because my "Safari" are solid yellow and solid orange. I'll get or grow some bicolors eventually and I'd like to tuck a few in there. I used 6 inch spacing. They look so incredibly cheerful, all the garden beds have flowering marigolds now. I'm so glad I got them. I doubt the winter squash will mind. If any of the 3 winter squash fail, I'll probably plant that space in either pole beans and tomatoes (for the vining sqash), or bush beans and marigolds (for the bush). My Sunset Garden book says winter squash doesn't do well here. We'll see. I'll always wonder if I don't try.

I find it interesting that my last couple afternoon naps have only lasted an hour. Am I developing a better tolerance for my medication? That would be great, but I'm skeptical. I don't have any symptoms to speak of so I'm willing to tolerate a lot of side effects. Ugh. I'm sorry, but mixed bipolar episodes with rapid cycling and psychotic features have got to be hell on earth. Horrible. I'm so glad that's all controlled by 5 pills a day. I'd take 'em if it meant I grew a tail!

Thankfully I haven't. I just wish my garden book would arrive, along with the famed winter bush squash seeds. When they do come they'll just make a good day better.

Tomorrow, it's going to rain. I'm glad we have the day off.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Yay

Ron tried to be a nice guy this morning and let me sleep in as late as possible. Turns out that was a bad idea, we ended up missing the donut delivery. The donut guy was early.

The other vendors paid for our donuts and then we paid them back as soon as we got in. Their main helper was "out sick" today but they didn't seem to find the story plausible. They had to pick up his part of the load.

Since Ron and I had come in on Sunday, we hardly had anything to do. All I really need to do this week is get some more candy bars, keep the other stuff up, and make an order for more stuff on Friday. I "was a big help" to Ron today, he said. That's always nice to hear. He really is my favorite boss because he gives clear directions, doesn't breathe down my neck, doesn't bring personal issues to work, and lets me know he appreciates my help. I'm glad I work for him.

One of the access doors to our area jammed and Ron helped fix it, and he told the maintenence guy what was wrong. Now they can fix it properly. Ron's got the best problem-solving mind I know, he can look at a broken thing and often get it working. I told him that. Not bad for a blind guy with one good hand.

We got everything finished and off to get some BBQ. We had a nice meal. When we got picked up to ride home, we got to be "sardines" all 3 of us wedged in the back of the cab. Not fun. The other client was pretty large so I ended up riding on my tailbone, hanging off the edge of the seat. Ron really is a gentleman for sitting in the middle, he must feel like he's about to suffocate. It wasn't a long trip and then we're home.

We live in a modest house in a "nice" neighborhood. Sometimes other people get very envious. I never know what to say other than "God has blessed us". It's a modest house. I'm not living in one of those two-story brick monsters, it's just 900 square feet. It's always weird when we get that, I think. Some people ask us if it's a "rent house" or is it a HUD-subsidized rental neighborhood. Uh, no.

I got my nap around 1 PM and woke up around 2:30. I decided to tackle my fence posts. I want to run netting across the back of my garden beds, each one's 4 feet wide. I hammered in a 5-foot high (after sinking one foot in the ground) post on either side of the beds, at the back. I had 8 posts. I'd done one a while back, but I got the other 7 today.

Yay!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Oh, Happy Day

The severe weather wasn't. I'll always cover my plants, if possible, when I know they could experience severe weather. Nothing's more tragic, to me, than the sight of a battered, tiny plant that trusted me. I hate failing them. So, I covered the babies, they didn't need it, I uncovered them and everyone's happy.

My collards were so waterlogged they wilted. I noticed, as time went by, they perked up. It just takes the rain a while to drain off. I've got clay loam, it's very good in many regards, but no one's going to accuse my garden beds of fantastic drainage. I plan to elevate them, somewhat, somehow over the next couple years, but I haven't quite figured it out yet. I have enough organic matter in the soil to keep it draining pretty well, at least.

We had a very nice, mild and sunny day. First stop was work. We went in, we filled 'em up, we left. We had just enough time. Fortunately, it was ALL VANS today on Metrolift. I was bad, when we went to Walmart I got 5 tomato cages (all stacked together). They'll fit on a van, not on a cab. They fit! I only had one bag and a soda 12-pack. I did all the loading and unloading so the driver didn't mind.

When I got to the garden department at Walmart, I let out a happy squeal when I saw the "American Seeds" by Plantation were back. The employees found my glee "cute". I love those seeds. They have fantastic low prices, great varieties, and a decent selection. I did notice that the selection was a lot smaller this year. Hopefully they just haven't unpacked all the displays.

I'm not complaining, I got White Icicle radishes, jalapeno peppers, sweet banana peppers, Cylindra beets, Detriot beets (at 10 cents!), Gardener's Delight tomatoes, marigolds, etc. I was very happy. I still am. They only had a few bean and lettuce selections, , no herbs I could find, and I noticed they didn't have the Alaska Nasturtiums (in their defense, if I really want Alaska Nasturtiums I can get them online). I got some "Gleam" nasturtiums instead.

I'm glad I didn't hold my breath, waiting on the display. The seeds are a great addition to what I've already got. I also picked up some "winter crops" like Calabrese sprouting broccoli (more heads after you cut the main one). If, for whatever reason, I don't get my Cream of the Crop Squash I did get some Table Queen. I charted out all my garden beds and contents so I know what I've got room to plant. I hate being caught by surprise, trying to cram plants into too-tight spaces so I don't have to kill anyone.

I know I want the vining winter squash (one butternut, one buttercup). Do I really want the bush summer squash? What about the acorn squash? They take up 9 square feet apiece. That's a lot of salad greens, herbs, cowpeas, green beans, and peppers I could be growing in the same space. Last time, I invested a lot of space and energy into something that fed the squash vine borers just a couple months after I planted it. I don't want my garden to be curcurbit world, either, the bugs would have a field day.

I'm happy I've got a total of 7 tomato cages. I've got two "Determinate" sizes and 5 "Indeterminate" sized. The "Sprayless" is determinate so I need to either use a big cage or buy an additional small one. The in-ground tomatoes are looking very vigorous. It would be so awesome if I could offer Mom and Dad lush, ripe tomatoes off a vigorous, healthy plant when they come to visit in April.

Tomorrow I'm going to be planting 5 romaine lettuce, a couple of marigolds, and probably my broccoli raab. When I checked my soil temperature yesterday, it was 70 degrees. We'll see what it is tomorrow and then I may start seeding my bush beans. Yummm. I love to eat the "Royalty Purple Pod" snaps right off the bush. Tasty!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

What do I want to look at?

Sometimes I'm faced with the obvious. Ron and I, for instance, had accumulated a junk/brush pile on the side of the house. We're going to throw it out, sometime, but we need a dumpster, or a crew. We'd do something, we just didn't know what or when.

Mom and Dad are coming to visit in 6 weeks. See, that's what I'm talking about. Mom and Dad are going to be great for getting the place cleaned and organized. I want things to look nice for them, and it's the perfect motivation.

About the worst thing we had was the junk pile. I can finish the house stuff in less than a week (once I get the junk pile) so I'm not too worried about that. I'm also saving to buy an IKEA couch for the living room, I just have one wooden rocking chair (mine) and a plastic arm chair for visitors.

But the junk pile. I see it everytime I'm sitting at this computer. It had all kind of metal junk the other homeowner left in the yard, the burglar bars off the front window and front door (made me feel like a prisoner), old satelite dish from former owners, and a whole pile of brush. It was covered with weeds and vicious blackberry vines that never seemed to set fruit. I can forgive a lot if something is fragrant or delicious, but not if it just exists to maim me.

I had resolved days ago to start hacking away the blackberry vines, reach in, and start disposing of the junk. It isn't as bad as you'd think - this all happened over 2 years ago so I just had to break up the mostly rotted wood.

Well, it was messy and filthy but I did it. It was relatively dry and calm when I woke up (severe weather expected tonight), so I put on my long-sleeved flannel shirt and got to it. I used my rose pruning technique (I've got to weed and prune the roses tomorrow), glove on the left, lifting hand, and shears in the naked right hand. It worked very well. I had so much junk I filled a 95 gallon trash can. I had to stop when I ran out of "can". I got all the metal junk (metal scrapyard scavengers cruise by on heavy trash days, hoping for a haul like they'll get from me) freed so I can take it out on Monday, even the joke of a literally wired together half aluminum ladder, half couple of boards nailed together? I wouldn't trust anyone to that.

Once we're done clearing and tossing, we'll get Sparky, the electric mower, in there and scalp it. Cover the ground with the weed barrier edging and some black plastic until I did it up and amend it (a lot more fun than it sounds). I even found a bag, 2 cubic feet, of landscaper mix I can use.

As I was clearing, I considered the question: What do I want to look at? I have a banana tree that naturalized from part of a frozen stump I was given by a neighbor. I left it resting on the ground and it sprouted. It's cool, I like it, but I like the tropical theme. Some cannas would be nice, they're tropical and can be tall, perfect. I love coreopsis and the brightly colored cosmos, so I'll plant that. Some marigolds, maybe some tuberose, I love it.

I promised Ron I'll buy some weed barrier fabric so I can cover the ground as I clear it. God forbid everything resprouts! That would be ghastly. With clearance on the sides and 3 feet clearance on the back (2 feet against a fence isn't enough, I found that out with garden bed 1), I'll have at least 7 by 3 feet, if not more.

It'll be lovely.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Another satisfied customer

I've worked with the public for over 15 years. It's not easy.

I love my job. I feed people, and they walk away happy. I work with a unique and diverse building population. I see everything from low-cut blouses, too much makeup and cologne, to guys dressed in scruffy jeans, longish hair, beards, and old t-shirts. We've got shaved heads, perms, weaves, natural, braids, and dreadlocks, but the one thing I hate to see is an unhappy customer.

I am very fortunate, 98% of the time it's something easy; they're banging on a machine and I just need to "free" the item that's refusing to drop, or exchange a "wrong soda came out" for the right item. It does happen when you have a blind guy filling the soda machine. There's the coin jam, refund deal and then there's the ones who are impossible to please.

That's why, when I had a small problem with my order at Stone brothers (http://www.stonebrothers.com/), I was a little skeptical about how they'd handle it. We get scammed all the time at work, how am I any different from them?

Wow. Not only did I get a really quick response when I called, but he kept me up to date with 2 more emails. Today, I got my item. Yay!

They're going on my favorites list.
  • Awesome customer service
  • Interesting and unique product selection - definitely not the same old seeds!
  • Very reasonable prices, good shipping.

Here's the link again. http://www.stonebrothers.com/

Thursday, February 14, 2008

"I was having a bad day until you showed up."

We had a great, quiet day today. I had some trouble sleeping last night after taking my decongestant (it can make me manic), so I took 2 Lithium instead of one this morning. It worked great.

Our driver had a little trouble finding us, and a little trouble finding some of the other trips (he had 3 other stops before we got dropped), so we rode around a bit. His braking style was a bit jerky and I started getting queasy (lithium and the braking). I sat in the front seat and (after asking permission) rolled the window down enough to get fresh air. He was stressed enough that he was chewing on his cuticules, so I tried to be very patient and helpful (I knew the other stops well).

We finally got to Walmart. All the singing cards were sold out. Heather, you monster. You didn't get your husband a singing card! Last night, I DID fry up a pound of onions (with sausage) which was eaten with great relish. Watching him "tear into" the plate, I was glad I'd planted so many onion transplants. When the onions are ready for harvest they will find a very appreciative home with us. I love cooked onions. So, Ron ate that, loved it. Then I cut up some more garlic sausage and fried it. I cooked the chipolte beans - a good enough recipe I'll repeat here, and added the sausage to it right before serving.

Chipolte Pintos
1 cup pinto beans, soaked overnight in water with 1/4 t black pepper added, then drained
1/4 t salt
water to cover the beans
1/4 cup chopped onions

Cook beans until soft (about an hour for me), then add:

1/3 can (about 2 ounces or 1/4 cup) chipolte tomato sauce. Ron likes the "San Marcos Chipolte sauce"
1 t chili powder (I use the cheap stuff)
1/2 t oregano (the good stuff)
1/2 t cumin (also the good stuff)

You can also add about 1/2 cup meat (cooked ground meat, chopped link sausage, etc.). Ron has used both "Taco meat" (seasoned hamburger) and the chopped link sausage, and loves them both.

Ron, a very picky eater, pronounces it "Perfect" every time.


So he's happy, I'm happy. He even does the dishes. He calls them "Those wonderful beans". He hardly ever asks me to cook him anything, but he will ask for the beans.

While I was at Walmart, I saw some beautiful carnations. I'm a sucker for carnations and daisies. I get over my guilt at the flowers' death by composting them. I love the thought that the flowers are now enriching the flowers and vegetables. The flowers were beautiful with a picotee edging. Only $4. They went into the cart, no question. I may have a question about buying a $4 cleaning product but flowers, now and then, are a must.

I had a lot of fun admiring (and smelling) them as I shopped. I went by the garden center and bought a huge saucer I plan to use as a birdbath (allegedly, the birds won't peck my tomatoes if I have a birdbath). I also got some cat food and treats. I had an ephiphany on the cat treat aisle and got them some turkey flavored treats. The dry food is tuna and salmon flavored. The wet food is tuna flavored. Even their treats are tuna flavored. They must be sick of tuna! They seemed appreciative when I got home, but ate both piles of treats.

I even got some parsnips. I've only eaten them once, in vegetable soup, but I thought it might be fun for Ron and I to try something new. If we hate it, I'll compost the rest and we'll have learned we hate parsnips. But what if we love them?

I always thought I hated summer squash until I ate a "White Bush Scallop". Those are so good I'll eat them raw, cut up, with ranch dip. Tasty. I was crushed when the squash vine borer killed it.

I was glad I'd bagged up some candy for my cashier. I had 3, annoying, transactions. My favorite sheets went on clearance, so I had to get another fitted and some pillowcases. I couldn't afford it off the weekly budget so I used a gift card. She also bought me some pruners (the lady who gave me the gift card).

I had my regular groceries, including my beloved Cherry Cola Diet Rite , and some stuff for Ron (the cat treats and a sheet for his bed). Not easy.

Once we were all settled up, I gave her the candy and a flower from my bouquet (actually, the stem had several blooms). She was thrilled, and told me she'd been having a bad day until I showed up. I'm still grinning over that. That's the kind of impact I'd LOVE to have.

I gave some flowers to our door greeter and the female Metrolift driver (she got candy, too). I still have plenty left and I'm glad I did it. I did all the loading/unloading and all the had to do was show Ron to the van. Yay.

We decided we'd rather have pizza than go out for Valentines day. I always overtip and I always will. I'm not sorry.

I hoped I might get my gardening book, but it was just credit card offers for the business. No way. I've also gotten a few credit card offers for me. Being uninsured, I had some old (exorbitant!) medical bills. Ron settled the one I did owe and apparently I look like a good investment now. No thanks, I don't think bipolar and credit card is a better idea than me on Ebay. No no no.

It's nice to know that if I do get this $600 government payout, there isn't really much I'm aching to get. About the only thing that's tempting is this nice faux wicker lounge chair I saw at the Home Depot. It's about $100. It would be nice to loaf in my lounge chair in my garden (wearing my bug spray). Ron would get himself an adjustable bed, or maybe a new computer. His is over 10 years old.

That's it for today. The plants all look good and I shouldn't even need to cover the tomatoes tonight.

Happy Valentine's day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

It's always a Tuesday

Whenever I have a bad day, it's always a Tuesday. Yesterday was nothing. I found out my mother died on a Tuesday (second worst tie). My loving grandmother died on a Tuesday (second-worst tie). My husband was catastrophically injured on a Tuesday (worst day of my life). Stupid (his) family power game drama family meeting (third worst day of my life) Tuesday. If it weren't unchristian, I'd wonder about the numerology/astrology people. "They" say that Virgos tend to have trouble on Tuesdays.

You get the idea. I went to bed and slept well last night. When I woke up, sun was shining in my window, gently warming the room. I murmured as I sat up and was greeted by a soft, loving meow from Frosty. It's been a good day.

I got the candy and snacks done. Snacks haven't been crazy-busy, but brisk enough that I'm not worried about business. I saw some good people I like. We had good rides (yay!), even the one that took an hour (other pickups and drop-offs) to get us to work.

Ron cancelled his appointment with the hand doctor. I don't blame him. I'd be scared of anyone getting around one of my hands with a scalpel. I mean, it's your hand.

"The sprouts" as I call them, are all looking great. The in-ground tomatoes and small salad transplants all got covered last night. I like to take a 20-ounce plastic soda bottle (or 2 liter) and cut it in half, making two "domes"' I can place over the plants. The plastic is clear and lets in sun. The plant is cozy. I've never had a problem with my little system (except a slight storage issue when the weather warms) and the plants grow beautifully. Consider it if you enjoy soda like I do, or you're "into" bottled water.

The severe weather did beat up one chard seedling and the leaf lettuce. The lettuce looks battered but "recoverable", I don't know about the chard. It only had the first set of leaves. It's such a pretty shade of hot pink.

Which reminds me; for some reason recently Metrolift has been taking a lot of elderly women to our dentist. He's an awesome doctor, Dr Peterson, Champions Dental Group. We've never taken anyone there before, then this week it was 3 trips or so. Interesting. Anyway, the landscapers planted "Bright Lights" Chard as an ornamental out in front of his building. It's striking and spectacular. It makes me want to grow more in my garden (I've already started 8).

At some point, I need to sit down with my graph paper and do more planning. I plan to grow a bush summer squash (white tint), a "tame" butternut (vines only 4 feet long, and variegated - I love variegated - going into bed 1), a buttercup (I'm prepared for rampant growth), and a bush acorn (Cream of the Crop, Jungs had it). Squash are space-hogs generally, but I plan to pound in my fence posts and string netting. Since I don't want to set out a curcurbit feast for the bugs (squash and cukes are related), I also plan to grow some pole beans and malabar spinach up the netting. I can get a lot more harvest out of my space if I go vertical.

Since Bed 1 has the best soil, I'm putting the salad crops into it. The lettuce isn't very demanding and will appreciate the spoiling. I've got 5 mesclun transplants growing right now, and I've started 2 each of various romaines (total of 6, jiffy pellets waiting on another couple leaves each). I also have 3 more mesclun (jiffy pellets, kitchen window). Life's short, plant more marigolds. So I have 2 six-packs and 4 seedlings waiting to "go" into their beds, plus 4 transplants already planted into 4 various beds. I need to start some Nasturiums too.

I've got onions and collards everywhere, including some in clay pots. They don't seem to mind. 2 tomatoes in ground, looking happy, and 2 "Stupice" seedlings I have growing in different 4 inch pots. The NZ spinach is taking it's time germinating but the seed companies warn you about it.

The collards are looking spectacular. One plant in particular was languishing in bed 2, but I figured out I was shading it too much and moved my compost storage bin. It's rebounded nicely. I can hardly wait to eat them, I plan to pick leaves off the bottom of the plant so I can prolong the harvest over a long period. I plan to wait until I've got at least a dozen good palm-sized leaves at least.

The more I think about it, the happier I am that I've planted herbs and marigolds. I didn't really do that last time and I think that was a mistake. No matter what the weather, I can rub some rosemary for a quick pick-me-up. Hmmm. Maybe some oregano?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I won't let him get me down

Well, I feel a little better. I had a decent nap, Bubba-cat came and cuddled for a while, and when I woke up Frosty loved on me for a while.

Ron was a little ugly today. He thought I was "short" with the driver. I'm sorry, I was giving very clear directions and she just wasn't listening. If you're that dumb, you shouldn't be talking on a cell phone while driving. You certainly shouldn't be talking on a cell phone while driving in an unfamiliar area and trying to get directions. The company has a NO CELL PHONES WHILE DRIVING policy. I didn't call and report her for the cell phone. I didn't yell at her. If my voice got a little short well, I'm human.

He called me some names and later apologized. Not for calling me "A stupid bitch" but for "Trying to do God's job for him." OOOO-KAAAY. I think they have pills for a God-complex. Then it was an hour or two of endless bitching on how nothing is real, why is God making him live his life, he doesn't want to be here.

I told him, screaming at me, getting in my face, and calling me names, while he has alcohol in his hand, is not the way to convince me that he can "handle it".

Sometimes it's enough to make me wish I hadn't told them to "Do everything" at the hospital. Then he cooked popcorn, which I hate. Ugh. The stench is all through the house. He said "You're fat, why should I care if I get fat, too?"

Later on, it's "Will you make me some of those delicious beans, Heather? They are so good." So I put some on to soak in the fridge, I'll cook them tomorrow. I'm glad he likes my cooking and I choose not to see myself as hateful.

I wonder, does he hate me for being content with my life? I'm serious as a heart attack here. He says "You're really happy doing that, aren't you?" in this odd tone of voice. Resentful? Envious? Shocked? I don't know. It happens several times a week. I don't get it. I just say, yes, it does.

I've dealt with lots scarier things than him; things inside my head. Him, I can get rid of in less than a year if I chose (divorce, which I'm not considering). I could get dressed (in my long nightgown right now) walk out of the house, and never come back if I chose. I choose not to.

The only way I could get away from the dragons in my head was by killing myself (thank God Mom drilled me into abstinence from alcohol and drugs). I'm still alive. Scarred, but alive.

It takes a lot worse than him to scare me or drag me down.

Yes, I took all my pills today but sometimes....

Maybe it's the weather (icy cold, windy, and damp) but somewhere along the way today I got irritated. It seems like everything's just feeding my bad mood. It's not the bipolar, so maybe I'll blame hormones.

Hey, the uterus ought to be good for something, since I'm not reproducing with it. All in all, it was a good day, that's the sad part.

We went into work. The machines looked great. Our milkman was a little later than expected but not bad. He's a good guy, I like him. When I brought the milk back, I helped Ron. I did my candy inventory as we were going to Sam's club. I got my box ready and left.

After I got out to the bus stop with the box (and my backpack and purse), Ron called to "remind" me to add dimes to the change banks. I went back cheerfully and filled them.

Ron was in a very gloomy mood today, angry at God. I told him I can only take so much negativity and asked him to tone it down a little. He did a decent job.

When we got to Sam's Ron told me he wanted me to buy him alcohol. It's been my experience that Ron in anything other than a sunny mood + alcohol = trouble. I said no. We ended up having a pretty heated argument. I told him no and I meant it. He accused me of trying to control him; I told him, no I can only control what I do. I chose not to buy it. He was very angry and tried to say he was fine last time. I said, you have a track record of "being fine" for a while and then all hell breaks loose, you're sorry, you'll never do it again, why won't I buy it, if you won't buy it you don't love me, see I was fine, buy me more, all hell breaks lose. He accused me of living in the past, being crazy and of defective judgement. No, my judgement's only defective if I'm dumb enough to buy liquor. I said all I would buy is one box of red wine a month, I broke my policy once, now I have to close the door I left open. Not easy.

He tried to get a freind to buy it, and they said no. He called Sam's club (several times) and asked for someone to help him buy this alcohol. Eventually, someone did. While I was out in the rain and cold waiting on Metrolift.

We got a ride home finally and I put up the candy while the driver had a heart attack over putting Ron on the van. He's only blind, but you'd swear he's 90 years old the way she carried on. I gave her directions and she kept misinterpreting them. I had to give her very simple directions again and again. Ron accused me (under his breath) of being rude. I'm sorry, but talking on your cell phone to a family member while a client is trying to give you directions is rude. She was complaining about being hungry (well, eat the candy I gave you) and I've got to pee. The pain is immense.

She offers to "stop", I said, I'll be fine when I get home, at the same time Ron's telling the driver to go ahead and stop at the grocery store and get something to eat. She didn't. I'm sorry, but you know you're on the road for 12 hours. Bring snacks! I do and I'm not even a driver.

We get home. Now he's asking for "help" every couple minutes. What is the mail on the counter? Where are the chips he brought home days ago? I finally told him "When I get up I will put cat food on the grocery list". I'm not jumping to do your bidding every time you want something. I'm not your slave.

We had severe weather come in, and my lettuce transplants took a beating. It's a tragedy to me, but Ron won't sympathize.

My books didn't arrive, either. :-(

No wonder I'm in a bad mood.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Tribute candy

Wow. I had a busy weekend, but not exactly what I planned. Saturday, we went into work. Once I got home, I got my nap on. I hate having to nap when it's sunny and glorious, the garden is calling, but if I don't I'm liable to plant things wrong side up. I went out and planted some lettuce, herbs and marigolds. I had a lot of fun.

I sure love the hose Ron bought me. It works great.

Sunday, we'd planned to go to Walmart. Instead, I woke up with a crippling migraine. Not fun. I curled up in a ball with the trusty ice bag and the Phenergan suppository where it would do the most good. The Phenergan puts me to sleep and helps me get over the damned thing faster. Ron gallantly refilled my ice bag and went off to Starbucks with my blessing. He had fun, at least. Why make him suffer, too? He's already being quiet in the house so he doesn't "bother" me.

I curled up with the cat for nearly a whole day. This morning, I had planned on washing my hair before we went to work but someone forgot to set the alarm. When it finally did go off, we had 10 minutes to get ready and the van was already outside. Thank God for baseball caps. I felt like my hair was alive today, not a good sensation.

I took my Lithium but I forgot my antidepressant, Ron reminded me as soon as we got home and I took it. I have no desire to experience another bipolar depression! Ugh! Had enough of those, thanks.

We did a "Pull" and Ron said, Hey, why don't I pay you today. I said sure. I ran all the money before the deliverymen got there so we were all set. We got all our stuff and I stocked it. I just need some candy, which we're getting tomorrow. I loved how Vistar sent me a case of Nutrasweet packets with a cookie label on it, like I'd be dumb enough to take it. They also "substituted" some Planters product for the cracker I had really wanted. I didn't take either of them. At least when I buy something online it asks me if I'm OK with a substitution. Grrr. If they weren't the cheapest game in town we'd say goodbye.

Me, Ron, and the plastic box all went to the bank. I made the deposit and got paid. Then we went to Walmart! I was so happy to see my total only came to $40. Ron's bummed because it looks like they don't sell the frozen, already cooked egg patties anymore. He loves those things. I told him, worst case I'll cook some and freeze them for him.

I had a little problem with an order I got last week (internet stuff for me), but the customer service guy has been really cool, re-sending the thing I didn't get.

I finally ordered my Cream of the Crop squash seeds from Jung, I also got some "Gem Mix" marigold seed. I love marigolds.

Which brings me to my joy at Walmart when I saw they had Marigold transplants. I got one each of the yellow and orange, I love the "Safari" mix. Yay.

Some of my seedlings dried out a little yesterday but they still look OK. The stuff I planted outside is fine.

I like to think I help Ron to be independent. I taught him "The mobility" (how to get around) at our local fried chicken place. Ron loves fried chicken, me, not as much. He made a trip to go but I was pretty wiped out. I encouraged him to go by himself, as he knows his way around. He was a little reluctant at first, but when he came home he was already talking about his next solo trip. He loves being independent.

Here's a question: Can you do a tribute to someone if they're still alive, or are tributes only applicable when they're dead? I like to think "Still alive" applies.

See, every Valentine's day my Mom (who basically raised me) would make us each our own special bag of Valentines' candy. It was good stuff, our favorites, with a sweet card. It meant a lot to me.

So when I thought about my Milkman's brother's children, no mother, injured father, I just had to get permission to make them some candy bags. He said, sure.

When I told Mom, she was thrilled. Those kids are going to be flying for weeks!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Good news and bad news

Chuck found the cat medicine hiding in his truck. Yay. I don't have to repurchase it.

We were able to get a ride to work, grab the catalog, and get back home fairly quickly. I was able to call in the order so we have product to sell next week. Yay.

When my order came today, the seeds were there but not the soil thermometer I paid for. Waaah! Dang it, I really wanted it. Very aggravating. I sent a very polite email to the company. Let's see how good their customer service can be. [I just want them to send me the thing I should already have, preferably fast]

I got a good nap today, my tomatoes (the seedlings and the transplants already in-ground) look good, and I bought some interesting winter squash this week (a buttercup and a butternut). Now I've got choices.

I'm still tired, and my handwriting has gotten worse since I started my pills. I have a wonderful life but if I can't whine here I won't be blogging.

I've got to go soak the pintos so I can make Ron more Chipolte pintos. He loves them, but wants me to turn down the heat. Tomorrow, I plan to spend some quality time in the garden and get my 7 top turnip greens into a jiffy pellet. I love the idea of having a cooked green section of the garden.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Buttercup

On my last post, I meant to say "I can see why people go off their pills". When I'm tired, and can't think, forgetful, nauseated, itchy, and dry-mouthed I can see why people go off their pills. When I'm medicated, I'm the one who suffers (with side effects). When I'm not, everyone suffers.

Speaking of suffering, as soon as I got home last night I covered my tomatoes. I'm glad. We had frost on the ground this morning.

I got some Buttercup winter squash seeds today at Home Depot (also some beans and lettuces). I can grow them up the trelllis I plan to put by bed 4.

I confessed my "sin" to Ron and we're going in to work tomorrow to get my VSA catalog. I can sleep in on Saturday. Ron was very nice, I'm glad I married him.

I can see why...

This morning we went to the warehouse, bought some candy, and went to work. I stocked everything that my snacks needed. It was a little rough, one woman followed me into the bathroom, asking me to sell her some Dunkin' Sticks. What, I had it in my pocket? Then she followed me into the stockroom AFTER I told her, I'd be happy to get her product after I brought in the candy which was sitting in the sun outside. Hm.

Later on, I was told by a disgruntled person that the ham sandwiches were "Nasty" and all our food choices were terrible. I told her, I'm just the hired help, the business manager is over there (pointing at my husband). Apparently, she didn't want to yell at a blind man, as she left.

I had to smile and play nice while Chuck chatted up the woman who hid my husband's cart and laughed at him as he searched for it. That's a sick game to play on a blind man who can hardly work. But I couldn't say or show how I felt. Like I told Chuck, I can forgive her but that doesn't mean I have to like her. I don't.

I forgot to bring home my VSA catalog. I feel like an imbelicle. It gets better. After I paid $88 for cat medicine later that day, I lost it somewhere. Now the cats are itching and Ron's being way nicer than I'd be in his shoes. "I didn't know you couldn't handle that, Heather." He apologized. I don't like admitting it either. I didn't lose his debit card, the prescription I picked up, the cash he gave me, my purse, my coat, my backpack, the stuff I got at Home Depot, and his leftovers from lunch. But I did lose the cat medicine. I feel terrible about it and furious at myself.

I'm that stupid. I thank God I don't have a baby, I'd kill it. I'd leave it somewhere or leave it in the bath.

Partly, it's the FAS. I have brain damage. I'm not normal. In some regards, I tested in the borderline category (nearly retarded).

The rest of it: Lithium. Ron's told me again and again tonight, it's OK. I love you. It's not that big a deal.

God knows neither of us want me OFF my pills, but it's a new (relatively speaking) problem and I'm still adjusting.

It's like I told Ron: the late-onset disabilties are always worse than the ones that happen pre-birth or in childhood. I know what I'm missing.

I'm not the same Heather. It's good, and it's sad.

I'm not the same Heather. I remind myself: People like me now.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Today was bipolar

"Bipolar" Everyone's throwing it around as an adjective, why not me? The day certainly qualified.

I woke up and we got a straight trip (!!) to Walmart with a nice driver. While there, I discovered the new plant display. I restrained myself to a Rosemary, Thyme, 2 tomatoes, and 2 tomato cages. Ron bought me a new hose (l0ng story short, me too depressed, Ron killed the hose by accident), so I also bought a nozzle and a sprayer (I can tell it to add 1 t per gallon of my seaweed emulsion) from Ortho. I find it ironic to use a chemical gardening iconic tool in my organic garden. Terrible things go into those sprayers, usually.

I was a happy camper! Even though they didn't have my cherry cola diet rite, I adapted. I got the cheap diet decaf and some low carb spaghetti fixin's. We went home.

Ron had an appointment at the Hand Center in a few hours, so I happily planned and planted my new friends. Ron wanted me to grow a "Bush Goliath" so I obliged him. I got myself a "Husky Red Cherry" - we'll see how that does. Hopefully it has good flavor and crack-resistant fruits.

I finish up, eat a snack and take my nap. All in all, a wonderful day.

We get a late ride to the Hand Center but we still made the appointment. They took great care of Ron last time, so he didn't mind going back. He has arthritis in his thumb joint and wanted to consult. Long story short, first drugs, then surgery. Let's pray I get my Metrolift.

We were finished and ready to go on time. 2 hours later, the place is closed. Everyone has gone home, the maids are vaccuming, and we know our eviction is imminent. It's freezing cold outside (low 50's) and I'm worried about my newly planted tomatoes! My babies are freezing! I'm hungry! I need to take my Lithium!

I remain calm. Ron finally gets the scoop from Metrolift: They gave the ride to "Frank" 10 minutes before Frank clocked out. Frank, by contract, must take all trips up to clock-out-time. He was in the area, only a few miles away. Instead of taking the trip, "Frank" gives both Metrolift and us the finger and goes home, turning off his cab. It takes Metrolift an hour to figure things out and then they didn't have anyone available. It's dark. It's cold. Have I mentioned that I need to take my Lithium?

I am not happy with Frank and I tell Ron I don't appreciate it being dragged into drama-queen games. He signed a contract, he should abide by it. He takes the money they give him, if he doesn't like the rules go work on the streets as a regular cab. Ron sees it as "Dispatch shouldn't have given him the trip so close to him going home." The fact that we had to wait OUTSIDE IN THE COLD WITH NOWHERE TO SIT FOR TWO HOURS doesn't matter, the guy's only slightly liable.

Huh. Anyway, when the "Real cab" pulled up, I greeted him with a smile and the words "My hero!" The words "Save, rescue, and hero" all made their appearance in my ensuing commentary. He got a bag of driver candy. I'm going home, thank God.

I just hate it when people use me as a pawn in stupid power games. I can't stand drama queens.

That's why I take my Lithium (the second I got in the door).

Monday, February 4, 2008

Never!

I'm glas we're on good terms with the other vendor. We both work at the relationship, because you've got two competing businessmen in the same line of work. It can get ugly if you don't team up.

Things were OK before, but they're certainly a lot better since I started my medication. I talk to them, I'm an extrovert. Ron's really more of an introvert but he is social when he's out in public. He's happy sitting alone at Starbucks for hours, where I'm blogging and yakking at my Metrolift driver. I told everyone at work about my sweet potato, and was told by Ray, the country boy, that I'm "Doing it right". It amuses Ron.

Ron's boss called a while ago and said the Plant Manager had called him, and they needed to meet (Ron's boss and Ron). Of course we were having heart attacks. It's like your boss calling you into his office and telling you to shut the door. This is probably very bad.

This morning, I heard the other vendor (our stockrooms are right across the hall from each other and we both keep our doors open, good thing) saying "... And I had a heart attack for FOUR DAYS over the call and then it turns out it's about the deli?! I was pissed!"

I immediately alerted and asked him what he meant. Turns out the plant manager saw the awning over our old deli window and wanted to know "What happened to the deli? Can they reopen it?" So now our boss has to have a formal meeting with us, hear us say no, and not open it. I hope.

I can't repeat what Ron said. The deli was open nights, and lost about $1000 a month. The customers were very difficult and demanding. Some of our employees were threatened by the customers, who would say "Oh, I was kidding". Ron had to talk to a couple of the customers about their constant bad attitudes and tell them to stop, or stop coming in. You can tell the attitudes bothered me the most. Especially when I was unmedicated. I actually got into some arguments. I just don't like playing the social games where people insult your merchandise, and you're supposed to act like it's funny. Or they insult the speed at which your working, and try to tell you how to run the business. If they could run a business, they wouldn't be working at the plant, would they?

So, we lost $1000 a month on the deli. The customers were difficult, and the state got tired of paying for expensive repairs on the equipment that could have been turning a profit somewhere else. They didn't even close it after Ron got run over by a postal worker, they told him "Come back to work in your wheelchair and run it or resign". But when the refrigeration units started breaking down, they said "Forget it" and closed the deli (also many prayers on my part).

The deli was a hellish experience that literally almost killed us both. I hate that they think that someone can make a phone call and make our lives a living hell again.

Tomorrow, I'm DEMANDING that Ron's boss get that awning removed. We've had a new plant manager at least every year, and seeing that awning raises expectations. They see the word "Deli" and they want one, even if they were totally happy with a vend-a-teria before.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

I got a licking today

I suffered a home invasion today. The neighbor's min-pin, whom I'll call "Baby", was in her backyard (??) all weekend. She got lonely. I was sweet-talking her through the fence, she's an adorable dog.

Anyway, she got through a broken board into the yard behind her, then into our yard (most of our fence is incredibly old and brittle). I went into the house to get some treats and she followed me in. I had one cat on the floor by this computer and another cat in the laundry room. They all got along fine while Ron and I played "Min-Pin-roundup" and "Love the human". We each got a thorough licking. I finally got her back out into the yard and she raced around, sniffing away. I offered her a treat (I know, NEVER feed someone's dog without permission), but she had her own treat: a large pine bark mulch chip. She ran out of our yard ( I jury-rigged something to keep her from coming back) and into her own. The last I saw, she was burying her precious wood chip in her yard. When my sister called (we can yak!), I went out in the backyard. The dog could hear my voice and she loved it, I'd see her with her face up to the fence, tail wagging away.

Tomorrow, we'll give the neighbors a small rawhide bone we bought at Petco. "For the dog, if you don't mind". We'll tell them how much we love the dog, warn them about the fence hole (the neighbors behind them are not nice) and ask permission to give them the bone.

No one asks me permission to give Bubba-cat treats, but when we put him on a diet he gained weight eating at his freinds' houses. I believe that a cat probably has a more rugged digestive system than a dog, anyway.

For a total change of subject, my Stupice tomato was outgrowing it's Jiffy Pellet. I seeded it with 2 seeds, both of which sprouted. I very carefully divided it (each seedling looks OK now as I type) and potted each into a self watering pot with Miracle-grow organic potting soil (good stuff actually, and worth the $4 a bag) with a handful of compost. Occasionally, on a Monday, when we have a very early pickup, we'll ride with a nice older man who loves gardening and hopefully a Stupice tomato transplant in a 4-inch self watering pot.

My lettuce seedlings look good enough that I will be planting them out into garden bed one (of the lushly fertile soil). I plan to plant some romaine varieties, my sorrel, and a scallion type onion tomorrow. It was supposed to be "showers all day" but it just rained after I mowed the backyard, while I was dividing up the tomatoes and potting them up. Afterwards, it was just overcast.

I went to Half Price books and got The Complete Vegetable Gardeners Sourcebook - I like it because it has a lot of information on lots of varieties of everything.

I found a sweet potato today on the counter, I'd planned on eating it but never got around to it. It's sprouting. Awesome. I want to grow sweet potatoes eventually (No Regrets) so it's going to happen this year. I'll allocate the space somehow. From what I've read, I can expect a couple of good potatoes off of every vine. Yum. They're one of the only things that'll grow well in the summer heat.

I got smart and cooked up some soybeans and barley, plain, in water. I can add seasoning to each dish and make them different. I need something high-protein and easy on my stomach. I can even eat it for breakfast with splenda and butter. Yum.

Butter. Sweet potatoes. That made my day, even though it makes me look like an awful housekeeper.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

I know what I want for Valentine's day.

We'll have a lot of business on our vending machines tomorrow for 2 reasons: Superbowl (the employee television is located in our area) and rain! Ron and I used to have a morbid joke back in the days of the deli, if we had a good night, it must have been cold, rainy, or both.

We've been having warm weather and FINALLY some sun. I got to get out in my garden yesterday and today. I fixed up garden bed 1, wow. It has fantastic soil, just beautiful. I can hardly wait to plant something in it. What plant? Whatever goes in there will be spoiled rotten - the soil was already fantastic before I added 5 gallon buckets of compost, shredded leaves, and mulch. I can't forget the 1.25 gallons of composted steer manure either. That's some good stuff.

I hate to say it, but none of the other beds look that good. I have decided, for one, to adopt a minimal tillage policy. I haven't tilled garden bed one in years. Not so with the other beds. They look like they have clay soil. Bed one, all I notice is the richness. The other beds received more tilling and more amendments. They look worse.

Another reason I'm reluctant to till the soil - over the last few days I've discovered a toad and a snake. The little brown garden snakes are harmless to me and the cats, but they're death, literally, to bad bugs. Same with the toads. I could have killed that toad if I'd been using anything other than my hands to move that mulch. As it was, it jumped, I screamed, I picked it up once I realized it was a toad, it urinated on my hands, I put it down in a safe, mulch-protected location. I've also found lots of nice fat earthworms, my little tractors, in the garden beds as I did. I don't want to hurt my freinds.

I get a little tired of the fatigue. I won't stop taking my Lithium or even reduce the dose. It works; I'm not sick. It's that simple. I just get sad when it's a beautiful sunny day, my garden is calling, it's 1 in the afternoon, but I need a nap because I'm so tired I'm almost walking into walls. I have to set my alarm, nap, wake, then go play in the garden. I want to have the energy I used to have, without the accompanying illness. Good luck with that! I had to take my nap, when I wanted to garden, 2 days in a row. It's supposed to rain tonight and tomorrow too. AAgh.

I planted 7 more collards and nearly all my onions. I've planted well over 100. Some transplants went into the garden bed right away (before torrential rains). The collard I planted right away is not doing well. Ooops. The onions are all happy. I planted some of them 2 weeks ago, a few 1 week ago, and the rest 2 weeks after I bought them. Some of the ones I planted today were definitely "sub-prime", and one displayed symptoms of "Pink Root". I won't be planting that! I'm glad I have the Texas Vegetable gardening book, it had a photo of an onion afflicted with pink root. It actually looks pretty until you realize "That is bad".

I gave my "Stupice" tomato a vacation out in the backyard while it was sunny the last couple days. I guess you could say it's my "Pre-hardening-off" period. It seems happy. I've been giving the seedlings nice diluted drinks of seaweed and fish emulsion. Once the "Stupice" gets bigger, I'll pot it up from the Jiffy Pellet to a 4-inch self watering pot. Walmart has some good ones that work well.

I got my seeds from Johnny's today. Now I can start my red-veined sorrel, red romaine, and some other romaine lettuces. I like romaine, can you tell?

I'm a little annoyed at Bubba-cat. He knocked over my peat pot with the broccoli raab. I hope the seed is OK. We'll find out in a few days. I potted up my NZ spinach yesterday and put it outside. It needs low temperatures in order to germinate and we're supposed to have some nights in the 30's.

Years ago, I made some compost and stored it in big plastic storage bins (18 gallon). One of them was fantastic, one was good, and today I opened my last one. It was fantastic!

What a nice gift to give myself. I'm getting myself a compost bin this month so I can keep making more.

Maybe I can get Ron to give me one for Valentine's day.

I wish there were a test

"Stop bothering me or I'll hit you. " Ron shouted.  Alarm bells began to ring.  Lately, Ron has been threatening physical vi...