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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

I planted seeds

This may not seem like a revolutionary act, especially since this blog (or its predecessor) began as a garden blog, but I promise you - planting seeds is a big deal for me.

I still have grief around gardening to this day from all the gardens I've left behind. I know that a creator can't be attached to what they create, but as I looked through old pictures for this post to show examples of what I was able to do, my heart aches a little. That's the thing about scars. You can't pretend you don't have them because they ache when it rains.

Let's reminisce:
Raised beds, summer 2008

Backyard, summer 2008. Squash planted directly into mulch, went gangbusters.

See what I mean! Patty pan squash on left, pumpkin on right. 

It was so lovely. 

Raised beds, early summer 2009.
Last summer at my Folsom house.

Bean teepee on left, strawberry patch visible to right. 

Summer 2009. Fruit trees have grown. Planted tomatoes in mulch instead of squash towards right (near dead grass)

The peaches were prolific that year for the first time. I made the most wonderful whiskey peach cobbler...

After my divorce, it took me a couple years to get my mojo back. This was taken in 2012 when I lived in Auburn. Four 4' x 8' raised beds, and 10 fruit trees to the back left in this picture, with lots of room to expand.

I even put my bamboo in the ground in the front yard as a screen from the neighbor's driveway. I'd been lugging it around since 2008 when I purchased it but never got around to planting it. Good news is I know where to get more of it

I've said it before, but I'm tired of creating garden and planting trees and not sticking around long enough to enjoy everything. It has created a grief inside me that has yet to fully lift, but what I know for sure is that you can move on without getting over it. No matter what 'it' is.

And so, I move on.

After realizing I can eat tomatoes and peppers again, I planted one of each ('Super bush' and 'jalapeno') along with a tomatillo ('verde') for delicious tomatillo salsa. There is NOTHING like homegrown tomatoes. I know I'm a little late compared to most local gardeners in terms of planting seed, but we have such a long growing season that it really doesn't matter much.

I planted zucchini, yellow squash, sugar pie pumpkin, and mini jack pumpkins in the mulch throughout the back yard. As you can see, I have experience with that...

Tonight I pulled out my Gardener's Journal which is for record keeping over the course of 10 years. I purchased it in 2012.

I added a new year...2015!

I'm trying to spend less time online in general, and my gardening and homesteading roots are calling to me. I'll update as the season progresses.

As I was thinking about how badly grocery store produce sucks and farmer's markets are great but not my thing, I remembered the CSA I was a part of back in the summer of 2011 prior to putting in a garden in Auburn. I looked up the CSA and they have expanded their offerings! I signed up so I'll have fresh produce each week.

This all feels very full circle to me and lights me up with a joy that's hard to describe. Time heals all wounds, even if the scars are still there.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Open Season!

In a recent post I discussed my food sensitivity issues and how I thought they were medication related. Turns out, I was right.

A couple weeks ago my nephrologist switched me from Lisinopril to Losartan, sister drugs released at the same time to control blood pressure that work in different ways, and within a couple days I lost two pounds. Not that I was looking to lose weight, it just sort of disappeared. Over the next week, my gut stopped hurting. The weight loss and lack of pain have everything to do with getting off Lisinopril, which had been causing inflammation the whole time and I had no idea. I just assumed it was a post-meningitis after effect. No wonder my white blood cell count is usually elevated...

In the last few days I've eaten ketchup, chili powder, Parmesan and cheddar cheeses, gelato, and SALSA. Salsa! How delightful that was. I have had no pain, but maybe a little bit of anxiety because these foods used to cause MAJOR reactions in my stomach and gut and it still makes me a little nervous. It's fantastic to not have the severe pain I've experienced the last few years. The coolest thing that's happened over the past few days besides no longer being in chronic pain: I can eat food without thinking about it.  I simply put my food on my plate and eat it. I've spent a lot of time thinking about and worrying about every bit of food I put into my mouth, and now I don't have to.

What a revelation.

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Reflecting on why I had this issue the last few years and why I had to go through it, I keep coming back to the fact that this situation taught me how to feed and care for myself. After I got sick, I would buy a large pepperoni pizza and eat off of it for three days, in between bowls of cereal and God knows what kind of/how much hard alcohol I had to wash it all down. That was all I ate for almost a year. I struggled with an eating disorder from the time I was a teen, and it was still rearing its ugly head into my 30s. I could drop 10 lbs like it was nothing, and stop eating on a whim. When I was nervous, anxious, or depressed, I stopped eating because in a world where I felt so out of control, the only thing I could control was what I ate, so I did. It was such an unhealthy place to live, mentally, physically, and spiritually. I was so, so sick. It took me a long, long time to get well.

In the last 18 months I've put on 10 lbs. (I should mention that after a breakup about 2 years ago, I lost 15 in a heartbeat from stress). Putting on 10 lbs during my eating disorder would have freaked me out, but something shifted this winter. Aside from my usual season affective disorder which knocks the wind out of my sails from Thanksgiving until the trees leaf out in the spring, I found food oddly comforting this winter. I've never been one to turn to food for comfort. I remember sitting in my therapist's office a few years back telling her how dumb I thought food was and that I thought it was an evolutionary flaw that we had to eat to survive. (Cringe).

As I was getting ready to take a shower the other night, I caught a reflection of my body in the mirror. As an American woman, I've been bombarded with images of how my body is supposed to look - long, lean, gaunt, with bones sticking out. I assure you, I am none of those things. I am short, muscular, curvy, and not at all bony. Recently I've had clarity in which I've realized that skinny is NOT cute or pretty, and I prefer meat on my bones (and feel the same way about men I'm attracted to).

Which is a good thing since it's open season on food. And also a good thing that my new gym opens next week!


Friday, April 24, 2015

Continuum

If you haven't heard by now, Bruce Jenner announced that "for all intents and purposes, I'm a woman." His transition came up at work today, and the conversation was interesting.

During the conversation, I said the following. Please note I have never said this to anyone including my therapist, although I've been able to articulate it in my mind for years. I had been too afraid to speak these words, out of fear that people might reject me.

Gender is a continuum, with men and women on either side. The truth is there is a lot of us that fall somewhere in the middle. I've seen studies in which it's been said that tomboyism is a step away from being a lesbian.* I don't know if that is true, but I know I am a tomboy and always have been. As a child I insisted on dressing and acting like a little boy. In a lot of ways I never grew out of it. While I'm straight and am comfortable with myself these days, I fall somewhere in the middle of the continuum, if I'm being honest. Just like Bruce.

*Coworkers got real quiet at this point.

I was surprised when that comment was received positively, but these days I am no longer invested in the outcome when I speak my truth and use my voice. I am so glad I was finally able to say that because I think about it every day.

Heather Havrilesky of the "Ask Polly" advice column is my favorite. I look forward to every Wednesday when a new column of hers comes out. One of the most poignant and profound columns I've read was one titled "How do I make my husband act like more of a man?" My favorite quote from the whole deal is this:

"...it's true that I'm not quite a straight woman. I'm more like a working breed of dog, trapped in a woman's body. I like this body, thankfully! But my personality is not very straight-womanly in the traditional sense, and straight women (and non-working-breeds of dog?) don't always appreciate my mix of aggression and whimsy, confidence and second-guessing, neuroticism and laziness, wise-ass remarks and self-reflection, dominance and submission, barking and rolling over."

And this one comes in a close second because it describes me perfectly:

"We are sexy man-worshiping tomboys"

But seriously, read the whole column. And all the others. They are spot on.

In my life I used to think things were black and white. You were or you weren't. ie. You are masculine or feminine. This fucked with me relentlessly until I was able to let go and realize that things don't have to look or be a certain way. I can be a sexy, man-worshiping tomboy and live in my truth (which is what I've been doing lately) and wow, it FEELS AMAZING to just be me!

Things don't have to look a certain way. This is my current motto and you can ask anyone who speaks to me on a regular basis because I say it constantly. Mostly to remind myself that the continuum makes life more interesting, and far more enjoyable.

I believe that everyone should live as their true, authentic self. We all have our own journey on this planet, and the sooner we live in our truth, the better our lives will be. People crave authenticity. And although sometimes the journey is long and winding, full of pit stops, and bumps in the road, life is an adventure and is way more fun when you're not pretending to be someone you're not. I wish Bruce the happiness and peace he hasn't had since he was a small child.

Cheers.