For dinner tonight, we had mashed potatoes with kale and scallions (thanks, Valerie!), fresh pickled beets, and fresh blackberries. I am so in love with our farm share! I was a little bit apprehensive about putting kale in the mashed potatoes, but I figured that it would just be a vehicle to use up some of the great big bunches of greens we need to get through this week, and that at worst, the potatoes would at least partially mask any harsh or bitter taste. I was so very, very wrong - the kale added a great flavor that really complemented the potatoes. It makes me want to always have greens in my potatoes. And the scallions added that little kick that made them sing. Now, who has an awesome recipe for summer squash or radiccio?
OK, I'll admit it: I have a black thumb. I kill everything I touch. Not only do I have zero knowledge about how to care for plants, I don't much care. I love looking at plants, I seriously admire people who understand plants, I am incredibly grateful for plants as food and oxygen and beauty. But, I can't seem to translate any of those feelings into the desire to do anything with plants myself.
But now we own a house and a house comes with serious yard responsibilities (especially as I'd prefer to not be known as "those neighbors" - said with a tiny sniff as if my sad yard make me smell a little bit and has driven down property values within a ten-mile radius. OK, no one has said anything remotely like that, but I'd like to avoid it). We contract out the lawn mowing, but I need some help on everything else.
Mostly, I'm asking my super-horticultralist friend Michelle (so, 'Chelle, you have to answer on the blog, not via email, so that we can all have an open conversation about my plants), but I would love answers and ideas from everyone else too.
Here are the ground rules (haha! 'ground' rules! I unintentionally crack myself up!): 1) Assume I'm an idiot. I don't know which ugly brown sticks are dead weeds and which ones are flowers. I don't know if I should cut them off or dig them up or leave them alone because they'll bloom gloriously in a few weeks. 2) Don't give me suggestions to put in any high-maintenence plants no matter how wonderful it would look- I know myself better than to think I'll suddenly become a gardener. 3) Be kind - I know the pictures are pathetic, and I know it's almost May, and I know I just asked you to assume I'm an idiot, but please just refrain from too much derisive laughter. Thank you!
So, here's my front planter. It's right in my front yard and is one of the first things people see as they drive by or visit. What should go in it? Do I need to dig everything else out first?
Here's two shots of our side plot. It's pretty shady most of the time.
What should go in our front door pots (there are two of them, and they are both just as pathetic right now)? What about in the patch right next to the front porch?
Last year, this was a glorious hydrangea bush (I think). Will it bloom again? What should I do to keep it healthy? And Happy Earth Day everyone!!!
The last random list I made was so enjoyable that I thought I'd make another one, just for fun:
1. The house across the street is for sale - who wants to come live next to me? 2. Sugary treats are yummy - I'm so happy Lent is over. 3. An enchilada-thon is also delicious (and not the same thing as an enchilada thong) 4. Thanks to Amber for having a birthday to give Diana an excuse to throw an enchilada-thon. 5. Spring makes me feel alive again (except when my allergies put me back into a fog. Do I sound like a Claritin commercial or what?) 6. 'Date Night' was an awesome date night! 7. I need to send Michelle pictures of my yard so she can tell me if I've got annuals or perenials in my flower beds and what I need to do to make it look like I actually care about my yard. 8. I've loved spring break, but I'm ready to get back to teaching tomorrow (although I do not yet have their papers graded - sigh). 9. They're having an open house at that house across the street right now. I can't decide if should go over to take a look or if that would just be voyeuristic. 10. I'm still not sure how I feel about Pluto's demotion from planet to planetoid.
Yes, I'm a big cheeseball and gave in to the crazy cuteness of matching Easter outfits for my kids (don't worry, I draw the line at anything matchy for me).
But the cheese gets even moldier (and more delicious!). Not only do my kids match each other, they also match Ruth's daughter, and Go-go's best friend, Becca. How could we possibly resist setting up the perfect picture for their wedding video (circa 2029).
And here's one of the trio. Mui-mui is in the wheelbarrow because she's terrified of Bunnies (I feel a song from 'Once More with Feeling' coming on (the Buffy the Vampire musical episode) - when in doubt, always go with the 'bunnies are evil' theory).
Here is a post just to prove to myself that I can actually publish a blog post. I've started a couple of posts lately, but they're just not working out (one is just boring and the other one is too intimidating), but it's been almost two months (criminal!), so here's what's up in my life:
1. Pi day (3.14 - March 14) was awesome - pizza pi, berry pi, taco pi, coconut cream pi, chocolate pi, pink freezer pi - yum! Plus good friends, good conversation, and all-around general nerdiness.
2. I gave up sugary sweets for Lent.
3. No, despite teaching at a Catholic college, I didn't convert. It's a purely secular celebration (celebration? maybe observance or suffrance would be more accurate?) of Lent.
4. How do I reconcile 1 and 2? I just ate the Pizza, the taco pi, and the (sugar-free) chocolate pi. I enjoyed the rest in my mind (and in the knowledge that we'll just have to celebrate Pi approximation day in July (22/7) and it won't be Lent then).
5. Go-go sings an awesome version of "I'm looking over a four leaf clover that I overlooked before"
6. I thought Relief Society culture was a unique Mormon phenomenon, but the Sweet Adeline chorus I recently joined is eerily similar - women who will kill themselves trying to serve, slightly over-earnest and cheesily sweet, people who can't help but proselyte to you about how wonderful it is to be a member, lots of meal delivery when someone has knee surgery or a baby, and being assigned a pair of 'sisters' who are responsible to answer any questions and make sure I'm progressing with the music and choreography. I guess most relief societies don't go out for a beer after rehearsal or have a lesbian R.S. president, but those are pretty superficial differences.
7. I hate grading poorly written papers.
8. Mui-mui is amazingly cute.
9. My Grandma recently turned 95 and is amazing. I keep meaning to make Swiss bread in her honor, but haven't gotten up the gumption to do it yet.
10. In honor of the Ides of March, we're eating Caesar salad.
When I first got married and started to think about having kids, I thought that being a stay at home mom (SAHM) would be the right choice for me. I have a rather inflated opinion of myself and I think I'm incredibly competent, but I'm always losing my battles with laziness and inertia. Adding more things to my to-do list did not seem like a good idea. My mom always worked, but she somehow managed to be home when I needed her and have dinner on the table and keep track of everything we were up to. If there's one thing I'm confident of in this life, it's that I am not as together as my mother. I used to worry that she would think I was making a judgement about her working by making a different choice myself, but the truth is that it was a simple judgement of my own abilities.
The reality of SAHM-ness is miles and miles (and miles) away from my imaginary world. My kids drive me crazy most days, but not even the kind of crazy I used to imagine. It's not so much the things they do (OK, sometimes it's the things they do) as the relentlessness of being with them and being solely responsible for them. Go-go is charming and clever and full of fun. Mui-mui is cute as a button and it's amazing to watch her figure out new things. After a few hours of cute and clever and fun, I just need them to leave me alone. Stop climbing on my head, stop asking if we can play one more game of Connect Four, stop climbing on the counter to get the cookies, stop demanding my undivided attention (pretty please)!
Which is why I love school. Three mornings a week I get to get dressed (in professional clothes even), go talk to grown-ups (well, close enough to grown-ups), use big words (and explain the big words to my students), remember that I have a brain, and not be around my children. When my mom time is smaller and balanced with some grownup time, I am a much better mom. I have the sanity to paint with them, and do play-doh, and go play in the snow. And I've found that as I give them real attention, they stop being so demanding and momhood doesn't feel quite so relentless. For me, adding things to my to-do list actually makes the whole thing more manageable.
I've taught on and off since Go-go was born, so this obviously isn't a new revelation. But it's been a solid year since I've had a teaching gig and I'd forgotten how much better I am as a working mom (even if it's very part-time right now). So, three cheers for the start of a new semester!