Because I Know You are Dying to Know What’s Up with the $3.00 Tomato

So whatever happened to those spent grain cooking projects and that stack of journals? How is the $3.00 tomato plant doing, anyway? I am sure you are all lying awake at night wondering about these things, so let me help you sleep through the night with a few updates:

The brewer with whom I live was working on a series of beers for a friend’s upcoming party. The cookies, granola and banana bread came from the first three in the series (a porter, English pale ale and an amber). The last brew was a witbier and the grains were sort of a combination of oatmeal and a fine, flour-like powder. Not the best for my chosen project; spent grain veggie burgers. Rest assured, there will be more brewing and therefore more cooking.

The journals are still there and I’m sure there is more awesome-ness inside. I’ve been devoting my reading time to Susan Cain’s, Quiet (which was highly recommended to me in response to this post). I checked it out from the library and in addition to being wonderful it also must be returned by June 4. More from the journals after I meet this deadline!

I am sorry to report that the $3.00 tomato is no longer with us. There was a time in my life when I would have blamed my far-from-green thumb, but I actually haven’t been doing too badly with plants as of late and I had a lot of good advice on this one. I think it was just its time to go. Open to suggestions for what to fill the largish tomato container with now . . .

So now you are all up to speed* and can sleep soundly tonight! You’re welcome!

*Something I just got up to speed on: I have been following Kindness Girl on Twitter for some time now – why it just occurred to me last week that I could also follow her blog on WordPress is beyond me. This post is a perfect example of the amazing-ness contained there! If you are feeling un-saitied after my silly update today I highly recommend reading it.

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On Blogging

I’ve been blogging for about eight months now and should confess that I started the whole thing with a bit (by which I mean, a lot) of skepticism. It was something I mostly thought I should do. I am a writer, writers have blogs; therefore so shall I. Needless to say “should” is rarely a good reason to do anything. But in this case it has turned out brilliantly.

I’ve been in a bit of an in-between;  finished one project with no immediate ideas for a new one. But I need to write. It is my balance, my gravity. And so I have blogged. And I have really, truly enjoyed it.  Not for one moment has it felt like a should-y chore.  I can now honestly say I blog because I like to blog.  Period.

The other extremely pleasant surprise that has come out of blogging is the generosity of other bloggers.  Of course I intellectually understood the concept of keeping an online journal that anyone can read; but I’m not sure I ever really thought about the idea of a community of bloggers.  The fact that people would like things you have written.  Choose to follow your every post.  Offer encouraging comments.

They’re all busy with things like starting a brewery , practicing down to earth yogadealing with a loved one’s illness  and growing old gracefully.  And yet each one of these fellow bloggers (among many others) has taken time, not only to share their thoughts and words and emotions; but to appreciate mine.  And that is what has made this experience downright amazing!

Giving

This morning I had my heart set on an ice coffee from the shop around the corner, but I knew it wouldn’t cost enough to meet the $3.00 credit card minimum, so I added one of their amazing pastries to my order.  Since I had already eaten breakfast, I slid the apple-y delicious-ness into my lunchbox to save for tomorrow’s breakfast.  When I got to work my co-worker mentioned that she needed to get something to eat, but wasn’t sure what she wanted.  I immediately produced the “extra” pastry from my lunchbox and it was a match made in heaven.

Last week, one of my students gave me a card thanking me for all my help this semester and for being an important part of his academic journey.

Thinking about these two things I am struck by how easy those little tangible gifts are for me.  A cup of coffee for a friend, a pack of gum for my husband; little things picked up as I move through my day.  And I am humbled by my student’s decision to write a note; to pause for a few minutes and write about his gratefulness.  Because in this world of clocks and deadlines and twitter feeds and status updates and quick coffee breaks it seems that sometimes we forget to pause and offer a genuine “thank you.”

Often, it is the best gift we can give.

My $3.00 Tomato Plant

 

There’s a new farmer’s market in town (Thursdays 3pm – 7pm at the Turning Basin for those in Richmond, VA).  My husband and I decided to walk down and give it a try.  The verdict:  it’s nice, not huge, but a great location and a good variety of vendors.

One of the vendors was an extremely friendly farmer who asked if we had put in our garden yet.  We laughed and indicated that we had indeed filled a few pots on our patio with herbs and a pepper plant.  He asked if we had planted any tomatoes and I explained my limited success with this in the past.  He recommended a specific tomato and proceeded to give me a number of planting tips.  So I handed over my $3.00 and walked home; the proud and newly educated owner of a baby tomato plant.

We planted it on the patio today.  In the new container we bought ($16) with the bag of soil we bought ($6).  Will I get $25 worth of tomatoes out of it?  Maybe.  Is there $25 worth of joy in talking to someone who understands growing things.  In laughing with my husband about walking a mile home with a baby plant.  In tucking it into the soil and watching it grow.  I’d say absolutely yes!

 

Stack of Journals: Closure, or Lack Thereof

I still have some things stored in my old bedroom at my parent’s house.  You know, those things that there wasn’t room for in your college room or subsequent apartments, but that you just couldn’t possibly part with.  This past year I have begun working on going through these things.  Most of it is easy since, obviously, if I haven’t used it in the last *gulp* 13 years, I probably don’t need it.

But I’m stuck on the journals.  There are a lot of my words in there.  A lot of my time.  A lot of me.  So I have brought a stack of them home and am slowly skimming my way through them, hoping that perhaps I will have a more clear feeling about what exactly to do with them when I’m done.  In the interim, I thought perhaps I would share some of my younger pre-existence of blog thoughts here.

First up:  a journal I had to keep for a class during  my sophomore year in college.  It was an educational theatre class in which we practiced and performed a play about sexual assault and dating violence for other area colleges, high schools and community groups.  We also learned a great deal about the topic and conducted a question and answer session after each show.  The class was co-taught by a theatre professor and the campus wellness coordinator.

The journal entry I ran across was pages and pages of me trying to make sense of my sophomore year.  I  was reflecting on the fact that my character in the play had a line about life being great and how hard it was for me to say that in a believable manner, since I felt exactly the opposite.  As I wrapped up my ramblings I stated that I had been trying to write about my semester to get some closure, but that it really hadn’t seemed to help.  In the margins, the wellness coordinator commented that “life doesn’t have closure.”

At 19, I’m guessing this comment just made me feel more normal, like it was okay that I didn’t have it all figured out.  At 35, reading  it gave me chills.  Because it is true.  And  because learning to live in the moment and enjoy the unpredictable, often unfinished business of life has become really core to who I am as an adult.  That sophomore year of messy, undone, best laid plans was formative in this.  And every time someone said it was okay or that I was normal got me closer to where I am today.

Both the educational theatre class, and (especially) the wellness coordinator are probably largely what sparked my interest in working in higher education (though I’m stubborn and it took me a while to come around to it).  What an amazing reminder that old journal was of the important role we can play in the lives of others, just by taking the time to really listen.

While I’m no closer to figuring out what to do with the old journals, I am excited to see what other treasures lie within.  More to come . . .

Stickers

I got a gold star today. Actually it was red with polka dots. I got one yesterday too. I can’t help but smile as I write this, because how can you not smile about getting a sticker! Or maybe that’s just me . . .

Anyway, my gym is running this contest where if you work out four times a week between May 1 and June 7 you are entered in a drawing to win a Kindle Fire. When you leave for the day, you’re given a sticker to put on a chart next to your name, under the correct date. This is the second time they have run this contest recently. The first time I didn’t sign up, because I already go to the gym at least four days every week. I academic-ed myself out of it: “I see your charts and stickers and gadgets and external motivation but I have my own intrinsic drive, thank you very much!”

This time I decided to step off my pedestal and play along. And the crazy thing is, it really is fun. Seriously, as I was winding down my workout this morning I found myself thinking “I get to put a sticker on the chart!” A good reminder to myself that understanding a technique is equal parts knowing theoretically and empirically how it works and understanding how it actually feels to use it.

And tomorrow, I get another sticker. That’s right, little pink striped star . . .I’ve got my eye on you!

*Gold Star from pixabella.com