Give Me Strength.

We have a right to be angry…

Stressor continues to greet me as though I am the largest piece of shit in the world. It makes it difficult to keep a solid day of believing in myself. I can’t avoid this person (well, any more than I have been), so mostly I’m just venting here for venting’s sake, and maybe a little reassurance.

An old friend of mine wrote to ask my opinion on something. On the one hand, it was overwhelming- because she was asking for a considered opinion, not a one-word answer. On the other, it was validating that she sees me as someone whose opinions are sought after.

The job hunt has not been going well in terms of seeing fruit for my labor. I have been vigilant and thorough in presenting myself in my best possible light, but so far, nothing. As we discussed in my last blog, I needed to step away and maybe find some balance. It. Is. Not. Easy. I’ll tell you that much. With me stressing myself out, bystanders asking how things are going, and Stressor breathing down my neck…

So, I have taken some time to do some “me stuff”. I got a haircut, teeth cleaned, etc. I spent today cleaning set-in stains off of my pillow and mattress cover- stains that happened during the medical stuff, and that really just bummed me out colossally thereafter.

I also did some cleaning up in the craft room. Again, I found some stuff from Xmas. I’m not really surprised. Things were much harder than… I went back and read my posts from the last two years. It shocked me. And validated me.

Girlfriend has been lovely, but she also wants me to be able to stand on my own two feet. At least she’s usually kinder about it though.

I also trimmed and polished my toenails, and I’m loving them. I did my fingernails, too, but the polish has since worn off.

My ankle continues to improve, but I keep tripping up on various things, which has made recovery from the break harder.

In the quiet, in the dark

…I sit writing, in Girlfriend’s bed that I helped pick out. She’s not here right now. I am drinking from her pretty blender bottle, enjoying her protein powder that tastes like a creamscicle. I prefer the one that tastes like fudge, and she knows this, but wanted me to give this one a try. It is good, but a little too acidic for my taste in the morning. This matters because my body is still complicated.

I have what I call “fuzzy tongue”, and I need to tell her this if we decide to swashbuckle tongues later on. But right now, in the quiet, alone time, mostly I am feeling it in my throat and lungs, and I know I will have to address it when I return home.

The pressure people are still pressuring me, as though I don’t give a shit and I sit around and eat bon-bons all day. I came to GF’s with my shoulders embedded into my ear canals, my back muscles tense, my ankle recently twisted while not yet fully recovered. I made what is kind of a sacrifice to the greater good, lending someone something that is worth money that I desperately need. I wanted a thank you. I didn’t get it. Instead, I got yelled at for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Something that typically happens when I am home.

I have had a few beers; one a day, really, and I have taken hot baths each day, and slowly my muscles are easing. I drink coffee, I eat well… yet, I have not resumed the application process. Lest you think I’m a slacker, I had been at it all day, every day since I’ve been back. I needed some time away. I guess I should really do some today.

Update

So, the boot is history. I need to clean it up before I put it away.

The rolling cart will go to someone in need, who has already asked for it. I love my cart and was planning to keep it, but honestly…

I can do things now to tolerance. Mostly, I’m just trying to walk properly and not get too tired.

PT got cut short. Shame bc I do my workouts. I try my hardest, even when I’m worn out and sore. But, they said they’d give me some things I can do at home, and that’s almost as good, I guess.

All but one of the marigolds look ok to me. I don’t really want to buy just one marigold. Especially since I paid for 4. Shame on me for going somewhere with a no-return policy.

Baby Steps

So, here we are. …Not quite at a month yet, just a couple of weeks. I’m doing ok. Returning to normalcy is what it is.

I face rejection of my inner self- the unicorn part of me- the creative part of me- most of who I am. It is hard.

I am working on finding something good that will improve my situation.

I am also working on my ankle, and I wobble much like this little cygnet at the moment.

I got one cherry tomato plant this year- a type I haven’t tried before. It is pretty. I hope it does well. I did not want to do my former 4 because it cost too much and I didn’t have enough gardening supplies. I had one bag of soil left, so I chose one plant.

I used up two of my three gift cards, so I’m running low on the ability to buy an iced coffee or some such when out. This is important because I’ve been having stomach issues lately, and the (obviously non-alcoholic) drinks help.

I miss speaking to the nice people at the old pt, but have avoided it because I’m trying to move on. Mixed feelings.

I’ve been doing what I can to clean ancient messes. I’ve been doing it in spurts. I’m feeling better now, and that helps.

 

Garden Update

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Shortly after I wrote the last garden update, the first frost came, and with that, the end of the season. It was a good second season, despite some challenges.

Here’s what the cleanup looked like:

Image 1:

The buckets and colanders before the first rinse. I still need to bleach and rinse them again before putting them away. I chose feed buckets a couple of years ago because they seemed sanitary enough. I was using organic soil, so I thought, “may as well keep things as neat and clean as possible”. I went with the 12 quart size, based on what I read & what I could afford. They were expensive and, in retrospect, possibly unnecessary, but I like them. The colanders are for drainage. The tomatoes really seemed to take to this system the first year, which was why I kept using it. I like it and the plants like it, so I see no reason not to continue.

Incidentally, I wouldn’t call myself an organic gardener, although I think everything I used on the tomatoes happened to be organic. It was by design originally, but this year, I was just working with what I had.

 

Image 2:

Tomato cages, obviously. These are 42″. I also use garden twine to tie the plants to the cages. This was more of an issue when the leaves were huge, and less so once they had permanent buzzcuts, though the cages were still necessary to support the fruit. I also had to anchor the buckets and cages against the wind this year, so next year, that will be on my set-up list.

 

Image 3:

The remaining tomatoes in their storage bag. It’s been a little while since I put them in the fridge. Hopefully, they’re still fine.

 

Images -4-7:

The marigolds were amazing this year. Even with the stems half-gone, the flowers were still cheerful! I trimmed them to the bases, then pulled them out. What a root system! I also cleaned and recycled the bottles I was using for drainage. As I mentioned before, I don’t plan to use that system again. It worked just fine, it just seemed redundant.

 

Happy Harvest! 🙂

 

Garden Update

1

The tomatoes are still hanging in there! I am still fending off the black spot problem, so I haven’t been able to use every tomato that has ripened. I also am still trimming infected leaves. What this means is that I basically have little tomato trees at this point, rather than bushes, but they’re still producing! All in all, it’s been fun. It’d be nice if I can get in another mini-harvest, but if not, even these last few tomatoes are more than I’d hoped for.

After I wrote this, the forecast came in. It’s looking like the frost is coming, so this might be the last hurrah!

 

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The marigolds are preparing for their exit with a few beautiful last-minute puffs of flowers. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I let them grow at their leisure, without too much intervention, and it’s really starting to show, now that they are on their way out. I did a little trimming after this was taken. Next year, I will probably take out the extra drainage to allow them more room to grow horizontally.

 

Happy Fall! 🙂

 

Cherry Tomato Sauce 2

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By the time I got to my stash of ripened cherry tomatoes, some of them had gone south. I was left with about a plateful of useable tomatoes, so I just did a quick modification of my first attempt at making a sauce.

This was more paste than sauce. I liked it that way, so I left it. I decided to use this on sandwiches instead of pasta, where its thickness was an asset.

Key:

  1. Raw tomatoes on plate
  2. Tomatoes with garlic-infused olive oil, garlic powder, basil, oregano, a dash of black pepper
  3. After broiling them on HIGH/electric. I started with them on the middle rack for about 5 minutes, constantly checking them, and then topped them off for about a minute or two on the top rack- also constantly checking them.
  4. After pureeing in the mini-chopper
  5. Adding pureed tomatoes and residual tomato oil to a can of tomato paste
  6. After stirring
  7. After adding in a glug of olive oil and about 1/4 cup of water

Enjoy! 🙂

Garden Update

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Tomatoes:

Here you can see some of the new growth on the cherry tomatoes. These pictures were taken after the plants had been fed. Production is still slower than before, but there are plenty of flowers and tomatoes coming in. The blight is still a problem- they pretty much need daily treatments to look like this. I skipped maybe two days after this was taken, and a few of the leaves are yellowing again. I’m not sure I want to trim the plants further, because it takes a while for them to get back up to speed. These are indeterminate plants, so I do have a little more leeway. This is one of those things where I have to look at them again and then decide.

 

Marigolds:

The marigolds are doing just fine, I’m happy to report- big, beautiful puffs of flowers! I have been dead-heading them, as advised, which really seems to have made a difference. I do feed them now and then as well. This year, I’m letting them grow as they please, so pardon the floral acrobatics.

I had rigged a drainage system underneath the soil in the flower boxes, which is why the marigolds haven’t grown sideways. It is basically a variation of what I did with the tomatoes, (which have colanders in the buckets). To make it, I cut a spring water bottle vertically, then poked holes in each half, then set them horizontally into the planters, with the narrow sides facing outward.

In retrospect, I’m not sure going to that much trouble was necessary, but it was in response to the condition I’d found the planters in. I had excavated and bleached them prior to re-use- they had gotten very moist and it was disgusting. They were originally lined in plastic, which is great if you want to grow beetles, incidentally. The flowers seem perfectly happy with unlined containers, though. Next year, I will probably skip the drainage system altogether, since these homemade planters are (obviously) not water-tight.