About Me

I'm creamy and flavorful. I go well with raspberries. I plan to keep getting more delightful with age, so stick around! I like to travel, both physically and in my own head. I buy a lot of books just because I like the way they look and smell. If "old paper" was a glade scent, I'd plug them in all over my house. Ummm... I can lick my elbow. If you're reading this, you've probably already had the pleasure of witnessing it. Also, I love dishwashers.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Wearing myself out (and loving most of it)

I cannot say with any honesty that I love being tired, but I do love the things I'm doing that are making me tired, except for insomnia. I had a hectic week. My editor is out of town, and I am trying to be both of us. I left my desk at 7:30 Wednesday evening, after allowing my car seats to soak up rain for an hour. I was awake all night Wednesday night, and by 12:30 pm, I'd made the trip from Tramway and Montgomery to the West Side four times, and NONE of my work had been completed.  I started all over again at 7am Friday morning. I finally succeeded and returned home very proud of myself, only to discover that I'd completely forgotten about the 11 gallons of fresh veggies I was supposed to cut up, bag, and deliver to VBS that afternoon. Then followed one of the most amazing messes I have made in the kitchen in many months. The whole house smelled like cauliflower when I arrived home again. I'm hoping for smoother sailing this next week.

I drove up to Springer, NM today for a Wings prison party. It was a long day, but worth every second. Oddly enough, when my boss asked me to share my thoughts about the party, I couldn't think of much to say. I always do that, and it drives me crazy. It was actually a very fun, educational, and even humbling experience for me. It was my first "prison party" in an actual prison - very different from the Women's Recovery Academy earlier this year. There were rolls of barbed wire on all the fences. The men wore orange jumpsuits, and the guards carried guns. The atmosphere, however, was not at all what I expected. I'm afraid of security and always have been. I HATED going through airport security even before TSA got crazy on us. The officers at Springer immediately put me at ease. They smiled and introduced themselves, and they even helped us unload our van. Their relaxed, friendly demeanors set the tone for the rest of my experience there.

When we go into prisons, we are there to serve the inmates and their families, and to show them God's love. But today, I found the inmates repeatedly trying to serve us.  I had not expected that at all. Just before the party was due to start, I was near the entrance, greeting visitors as they arrived and asking them to make name tags. There were two inmates, one of them acting very nervous, looking out a nearby window. The nervous one said to his friend, "Maybe she's not coming." His friend kept reassuring him that if she said she'd be there, she'd be there. I felt immediately invested in whether or not the wife or girlfriend in question would arrive, and when she finally did, I smiled shamelessly while they embraced. She made a name tag and pretended not to notice I'd been staring at her, and the couple went in to join the party, leaving the second inmate standing alone. He looked like the stereotypical "scary" looking convict. Use whatever image comes to mind. He heard me mention that I was thirsty. I immediately forgot that I'd said it. Ten minutes later, when I'd already moved on to another task, he tracked me down and handed me a cup of ice water. It might sound like a small thing, but it's precisely because it's a small thing that most of us would not bother. That was the first time I realized that these men wanted to make us feel welcome in their facility.

There was another guy by the name of Gerald (Jerald?) who helped us in every possible way before, during and after the party. I think if he'd had his way, we would not have lifted a single box all day. I got a chance to talk to him for a while. We talked about his family, who were not there today, his experiences with Christianity and the church, and the long-term goals that were put on hold by his bad choices. He'll be released in less than two months. He told me that he hopes to get work as an electrician, maybe find a church to join, and eventually go back to school. Near the end of the party, I sat down with a group as they ate their meal and talked. An inmate who could not have been older than 21 offered me his chair and then poured me a glass of lemonade. He and his family had caught my attention earlier while we were singing praise music. He had one arm around his little sister and the other up over his head while he sang. I talked to his mom some, too, and I think she might join us for a Monday night Wings meeting sometime soon.

I am currently too tired to channel these random snapshots into anything insightful or clever. I just wanted to present the things that stood out me. If I were a good writer (or at least an awake one), I would give the observations more meaning for you. I guess I still have to process them and figure out how my perspective is supposed to be shaped.

Oh! and I'm getting a new bathroom!!!! Well, it's the same bathroom. But it will be retiled and have new plumbing and such. I'm excited. I had this crazy notion that my unexplainable fever of over a month was caused by black mold, even though I'd seen very little of it in my bathroom. My wonderful dad decided I might actually be onto something. He came over and pulled up my linoleum. Sure enough, mold was thriving under there. I haven't been using that bathroom for about a week now, and I feel a little better already. I'd like to think they're connected. I'll try to post pictures as the project progresses.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My Little Garden

I have never been so happy to see rain in my life. I'd almost forgotten how glorious it is. I ran around in it like a little kid, and I'm pretty sure my garden would have too if it had legs.  The rain sent some of my plants into little fits of joy. Not very long ago, the flowers below were sad little skeletons of the plants they once were. They are now making a glorious comeback!

Herbs seem to be easier than flowers or vegetables. We have oregano, basil, rosemary, sage and thyme.  Truth be told, my basil plant is the only plant I'm very proud of. After killing five of them (5!!!), I discovered the secret: more sunlight, more room to grow, occasional trimmings, and much less water. In the past, when my indoor basil plants started to look sad - either from lack of sunlight or because they'd outgrown their pots, I'd overreact and drown them. This one likes to dry out in between waterings, even in 95 degree weather. He was much bigger this morning, but I gave him much-needed haircut.

This brave little honeydew plant almost died when I first took it home from my sister's garden, but she's pretty happy now. Apparently, she thinks she's big enough to support melons already. Maybe they'll be golf ball sized melons...
 The watermelon, in contrast to its melon sister, is determined to remain 2 inches tall forever. Those are beets scattered around them.

The thing about planting metal containers is that it basically acts like a cake pan. You know how when you bake in a nonstick pan, the edges of the cake pull away as they cook? These barrels do that, too.
For some reason, the barrel below gets much dryer than the rest. My dad gave me my first olla, which I just dug in yesterday. If it helps significantly, I'll buy more. What you see in there with the marigold is swiss chard and a big blank spot, either for beans or a baby zucchini that is currently hanging out with the spinach.

My tomato plants: Brad (a "Bradley Heirloom"), Angelina and Jennifer (both "Early Girls"). Shannon told me that it's mean to make Jennifer hang out with them. I assure you that in tomato world, they all get along fine. At least I think so. Jennifer is currently the only one not blooming, but I think that's just a coincidence.

This peach tree was an accident. I think it came out of the compost pile. I don't even remember how long it's been there, but it's growing steadily. Last year, it gave us quite a few peaches. I think someone must have let it slip that it was unwanted, and so it is pouting. No peaches :(

Sometimes I get the urge to spray paint things yellow. Thus, I have yellow patio furniture. 

This is my spinach box. It only gets a few hours of direct sunlight in the mornings, and that seems to be working well so far.

The bigger thing in the back corner is a zucchini that will be transferred to the barrel in a few days.

Just thought I'd share, and now I'm about to be late for work.