July 30, 2008

Life is Learning

My mom mentioned last week that my peas didn't look "normal". She commented that they had much wider pods. Then yesterday, Kristin asked what kind they were as they never shelled sugar snaps growing up, just eating them straight from the garden.

I didn't remember the seed package saying they were sugarsnaps so I went on a hunt in the garage. I didn't know if they were run of the mill garden peas, sugar snap peas or snow peas. All I could remember was that it said they didn't need to be staked. True, they didn't. But if I left them to their own devices, all 4 rows grew prostrate along the ground to the center of the patch and then climbed up the other plants. Leaving me with a snarled tangle of pea plants and tendrils.

I knew that somewhere amidst the mess (we're in the process of rearranging everything so that my 4Runner will fit in there finally) was a half full bag of seed. With a name on it. And with the joy that is G00gle I'm sure the name would lead me to a variety.

G00gle didn't let me down.

Oregon Giant Peas

Oregon Giants are the largest and sweetest of the snow peas. Snow peas are typically picked before the peas themselves get big so that you just eat the pod itself. As the peas grow, the pod becomes more fibrous and toughens. Making it uneatable. Or at least not enjoyable to eat. Oregon Giants are the first snow pea to have been bred to grow sweet peas in the pod before harvesting. The benefit this variety is as the peas grow larger the pod stays sweet and tender. So you get the best of both!

So it appears that even the Plant Girl still has lots to learn in terms of her gardening. Photobucket

July 29, 2008

Some of My Favorite Things

Are handmade!

About a year ago I found the wonders of Etsy and Hyena Cart. Buying something that is handmade seems (at least to me) to be much more meaningful than buying a shirt off the rack in the mall. You have to put thought into the items you purchase. And I love that it benefits the crafter directly!

So now when I have a choice I try to buy items (especially gifts!) -- for both myself and others -- from one of the two sites. It helps too that I have an amazing collection of friends that have "shops" that I can peruse.

Here are some of my favorites:

Marci makes the most amazing jewelry. I love the beads she chooses to work with and could easily spend a great deal of money on her items! This is one of my newest purchases from her.

Jaime's work includes embroidered burp cloths, dresses, blankets and rag quilt totes.

Barbie started off sewing diaper bags and has branched into beautiful children's clothing and accessories.

Nichole makes iron-on transfers for kids' clothing.

Kim's specialty is fitted diapers and she has one of the best products available by a work-at-home mom. Her diapers are incredibly absorbent, they hold up very well in the wash and she uses the most fantastic selection of fabrics.

Samantha stocks adorable tee shirts that are flocked with whimsical (and somewhat retro) images. When she's not so busy with life, law school and the impending arrival of a new baby she also stocks the most amazing yarn to match her shirts.

Nicole specializes in hand-painted yarn and knitted items. Her colorways are spectacular. We were lucky enough to get involved as a tester for an item of hers before she opened her cart. We received countless comments on KT's pants when she wore them.

Jen uses all natural fibers for her knitted and crocheted projects. Her work includes children's clothing sets and accessories, longies for cloth diapering and home items.

Dalia and Melissa create embroidered items (shirts, onesies, etc.), dresses and fleece diaper soakers. They do amazing custom work and are great to work with.

July 28, 2008

I'd Like to Buy Some Motivation, Please

Ever since my gallbladder surgery, my motivation has seriously been lacking. Before I got sick I was doing a really good job about trying to get myself in better shape. I had a goal with a friend to run a 5K in May.

From October through March I was going to the gym 5 times a week and making great progress on my running program. The first couple of months were a struggle. It's always hard to get into the routine of going to the gym regularly, getting past the part that sucks so badly at the beginning. A good part of that time (October through February) I was working with a trainer 2 nights a week. After my training sessions were over I was focusing on my 5K training. I had gotten so that I could run 2 miles without stopping; I actually liked to run. I know that to some people this seems trivial, but I am not a runner. I never have been. This was paramount to me. I was on a good track to run the 5K with Flying Monkeys in May.

Although I hadn't seem huge changes in either my weight or body measurements I could tell that I was getting stronger. I could see changes in my body, albeit subtle. My legs were getting stronger -- what jiggled incessantly at one time was starting to firm up. The flab was disappearing. I hadn't lost much in terms of weight (maybe 2-3 pounds total) but had lost some body fat and built up my endurance and strength.

Then it all went down the tubes. Perhaps the surgeon removed my motivation when he was fishing around in my abdomen. Had it attached itself accidentally to my gallbladder? I wonder if the pathologist found it in his analysis. For as much as they both (surgeon & pathology) charged my insurance there must have been more involved than just my lowly gallbladder.

After I got the go-ahead from the surgeon to start working out again I faced that uphill struggle of starting over. It's amazing what I lost in 6-8 weeks (between the time just before surgery where I was so sick and my post-op recovery period). I couldn't run more than 2 laps (0.5 miles) on the treadmill without hating life. But more importantly, I could barely drag myself to the gym 3 nights a week.

In an attempt to kickstart my motivation, I laid down the money and signed back up with the trainer. It has ensured that I'm at the gym 2 nights a week but hasn't done anything for my running motivation. I'm averaging 1 night a week that I go to the gym just to run. One night a week isn't squat. There's no way I can make progress with such little consistency and effort.


It had been my goal to run a 5K before my birthday. Even if I was to hit it hard now, I doubt that will happen as my birthday is only a month away.

Part of me thinks that because I had to sideline my running due to the surgery, and I missed that first goal of a race in May, that I don't have the same motivation. I'm sure part of is related to my running partner being sidelined due to an ankle injury. I haven't set any new race dates. I don't have a goal that I'm aiming for.

I keep saying that it will get better when the summer ends. That I'll have less to do when the days are shorter and the yard/garden doesn't require so much attention. That's probably all a load of bunk too. Knowing me I'll continue to come up with excuses.

Maybe my best motivation would be to sign up for a race. Pay my entry fee and commit myself to actually putting one foot in front of the other. In front of other people. People that actually run competitively and would secretly laugh at my sorry ass as I trudge my way through a 5K.

No better motivation than the potential to humiliate yourself in front of others. Right?

July 27, 2008

The Fruits of My Labor

This is when all the hard works starts to become rewarding. When all of the backbreaking hours of prepping garden and flower beds, laying irrigation lines and planting seeds and plants is long forgotten.

To me it is so rewarding to be able to look out and see something tangible that has resulted from all the work. It's relaxing to putter around picking berries, watching the apples grow and seeing the first glint of red in the skin of a tomato.

This is some of what I picked yesterday:

6 cups of raspberries. I think I already have enough for a batch of jam (with what I picked last week combined) and still have 50% of the berries left on the bushes yet!
11 pounds of peas -- almost a full Wal-mart bag. After they were shelled it yielded about a quart of veggies. Minus everything that KT ate while I was shelling them.

Although some of the garden stuff is behind where it should be for this time of year it's fantastic to see the progress it has made. The corn is weird in that some of the stalks are waist high, but others are still 4-6" tall. The beans are just beginning to form pods; tomatoes are starting to ripen on some plants while others haven't even formed fruits yet; the pepper plants are still small and do not have any fruits forming yet; and the strawberry patch will yield about 4 berries in total.

This is the 1st year that we've had such a nice yard/garden. It's enjoyable to sit outside (will be better when we spend the money to get a nice table set with a decent umbrella for shade) and we feel like we could actually entertain guests in our backyard. A much desired changed from the dustbowl that was our backyard in Provo.

July 17, 2008

Thumbing Through the Archives

Sometimes it's refreshing to glance back through some of my earlier posts. To take a quick jaunt down memory lane; languishing in memories past.

But sometimes it's not as refreshing. Sometimes it make me painfully aware of how neglected this blog has become and how much my posts have evolved over the last 226 entries.

First I think about how busy my days have become and how blogging has fallen to the bottom of the priority list (although still higher than cleaning the toilet). Second I think about how much my writing has changed. I read some of my older posts and I feel as though they've been written by another person. Where did that humor go? That eloquence and wit? My initial thought is they diminished in correlation to the increase in my age and stress level.

But then secondary thoughts to start to creep in. Is that humor and eloquence still there? Is it just overshadowed by exhaustion and workload? Is it like my memory that slowly slips away with age?

As the wheels begin to spin faster and faster my thoughts jump from one topic to another. With no two seeming to be linear. I jump from feeling badly about not blogging, to feeling badly about my writing to feeling badly about so many other aspects of my life.

Damned self destructive cycle.

July 8, 2008

Beer for Breakfast?

Anyone want to partake with me this morning? Although it's only 9:45am here in the Mountain time zone, my guess is that someone, somewhere is enjoying a nice frosty beverage as their breakfast of choice.

So what do we have today??

A crappy night's sleep due to a combination of insomnia, a snoring husband and the residual effects of a migraine?


Ants in the kitchen this morning?


Husband cranky because of the ants?


Husband slamming stuff around the kitchen while killing ants wakes the toddler an hour early?


Toddler is cranky because she's up early?


Toddler is also cranky because she's teething, AGAIN?


Contractors here bright and early to pour concrete?


The sounds of sledge hammers, a skid loader and dump trucks resonating through the house?


Two dogs running frantically from the front window to the sliding glass door because of the ruckus?


One screen door with a new rip in the screen due to one dog crashing into the screen since the rug was tossed outside this morning in an attempt to clean up ants?


Two dogs barking constantly at the contractors they can't see, but can clearly hear?


Dead batteries in a bark collar?


One package that needed to go to the post office yesterday to be mailed out but is still sitting on the kitchen counter?


No power steering or air conditioning in the vehicle parked on the street?


No other vehicle available for use?


Edits that need to be done on a manuscript about phosphorus fertilization?


Statistics that need to be run on an article about nematode infection?


A solid assumption that very few work-related tasks will get accomplished today?


A husband with an office job that gets to avoid all of this drama?


Cold beer in the fridge.


July 3, 2008

Win Free Diapers!

Attention fellow cloth diapering mommas (and those that might be willing to make the switch)! Enter the survey to win 18 free diapers from Nature's Child.

Win a Bum Genius 3.0 Starter Kit from Nature's Child - Wholesome Goods for Mothers and Babies

We can all use free diapers, can't we?