Sunday, June 30, 2013

how does your garden grow

The other night I was kneeling in the dirt of our little garden looking at what has come of the seeds we have planted, what has grown and done well, and what has not, pulling out all kinds of very prickly noxious weeds, and weeds that had worked their twisty ways around the stems of my dear little plants. I knelt there weeding and weeding and weeding and and I got to thinking, as I am wont to do. Oh, thinking. My brain. It's a doozy. And I thought about life and summer and the trip I just went on and my kids and the things we've been doing and all of what we've been up to.  (I know it's hopeless to even tell you about the posts I still have in my drafts that I really am still going to finish and post. I really am.) But anyway.  Gardening. Weeding.  Thinking.  And I thought I'd check in here and give you a little update and let you know how things are going, or growing, as the case may be, beginning with our experimental garden plot, and maybe expand on this as little metaphor because metaphors are always fun.  And here I am.

1. So we've lived in our house 11 years and through these years we have had a little plot in which we have sometimes  on and off experimentally gardened.  Nothing has been very successful and it has mostly been discouraging and has mostly grown an amazing amount of weeds.  This year we are trying again. We bought some manure and peat moss and turned the soil and even designed and installed a watering system (which we determined to be our main failure in the past. Turns out things don't grow so well without water. Hm.)  We bought seeds.  We started some seeds from little seed starter peat pots indoors.  And eventually (later in the year) we bought a few tomato plants and a red pepper plant. The younger kids also brought home some carrot seedlings they had started in yogurt cups at school.  So, at this point, our watering system has failed - our sprinkler system turned out to have main water valve leaks that Zac has tried to fix at least 3 times and it is still leaking and so the branch leading the garden and back yard are still not functioning.  And yeah, it's over 100 degrees and our backyard is not being watered.  If you're not from Utah or the West you may not understand the significance of this. Oh well. We are watering the garden from the hose but we are more committed to keeping things alive and I think it is working.  We have some tomatoes starting to grow. Some lettuce. Some peas look good. One carrot from the kids school seeds. Of my little herb garden that I started from seeds, only basil looks like it will grow into something that can be harvested.  I am disappointed not to have any dill or chives but not much can be done. Of the seedlings we started indoors, marigolds were the only ones to make it after we transplanted outdoors.  We have some green bean plants growing (haven't seen any fruit yet) and some zucchini or yellow squash (not sure which).  The pepper plant died and we don't know why.  We are learning through trial and error.  Probably mostly though error. We don't really know what we're doing. Just hoping to enjoy some of our harvest.

(all below photos taken in Humboldt, CA)

2. My trip: I went to CA for my oldest sister's wedding.  I drove 2 days there with my mom and her new husband and my niece/sister and her husband and we stayed there 3 days in a rental house with the 5 of us plus my brother, his wife and their 2 yr old and my youngest sister, then drove 2 days home again.  We spent time with my sister, her son, her fiance, and his 2 daughters, plus the best man, another friend, my sister's fiance's parents. Did I forget anyone?  There were a lot of people, which meant they were surrounded by a lot of love and support which is wonderful, but for an introvert like me who needs a little time alone to recharge, and a person like me with chronic pain who needs daily naps to kind of function in a normal fashion, all the busy running around kind of drained me in a significant way.  I mention this to try to explain to myself why this trip felt so difficult to me in some ways.  Family.  We grow up together.  Are we like a garden? We are seeds somehow sown together, we think we are getting the same experience of sun and water and soil and yet each of experiences it all so differently.  This is something that always seems to come up when I am together with my siblings.  We experienced our childhoods so differently.  We remember even the exact same things so differently.  We experienced our parents differently.  It is hard sometimes to come to terms with the differences of our experiences.  Our memories.  Our childhoods.  And even now. We continue to experience things so differently.  It is hard sometimes to respect and come to terms with the differences of our experiences.  We are in the same garden but experiencing differing shade and sun and water. Sometimes we forget that it's not the same. And not all of us are flourishing in the same way.  Anyway.  I'll just quickly also bring up the issue of being an adult when your parents divorce and remarry. I must have been naive or maybe I just didn't want to think about it - but I didn't think this would affect me as much being older.  I was 21 when my parents got divorced.  And I will just tell you that I was wrong. And if you are one of the people who somehow think or thought the same, I just want to disprove that myth for you once and for all.  And I just have to say that having your parents remarry at any age is still hard.  There just is no way around it.  There were weeds I found on this trip cropping up in my mind that I didn't even know existed.  Not the "bad thought" weeds that we're typically taught to weed out of our minds in that sense, but just things growing in the back of my mind, thorny prickly uncomfortable feelings that needed to be dealt with. Painful thoughts that had to be grabbed with both hands and yanked on and brought to the surface and untangled, even though they dug into my palms and left me scraped and bloody.  I came home from the trip having accidentally unearthed some prickly thorny weeds and it wasn't necessarily any one's fault or any particular incidences or anything. It was just the circumstance of what is and that I need to deal with my weeds. It was a wonderful trip, all things considered. It is so beautiful there and I love it.  The wedding day was beautiful and I loved it. I love my family and I loved spending time with them.  Gardening is just such hard work.  We work at it the best we can and sometimes we aren't so good at it.

3. Summertime and my kids: we started a new chore system and it seems to be going well. The kids are actually doing chores!!  Hooray! This is going well for the most part because I am doing well enough to enforce it - ta da! Magic! ;)  And Zac and I are both actually amazed at how well it is going.  It took a couple weeks to get some of the complaining to stop and to not have to drag certain children from step to step but after 4 weeks, it seems to be going somewhat smoothly. They have a room for the week to clean and maintain everyday and then "deep clean" once a week and we have incorporated doing the laundry and some extra things into the basic rooms. They have a printed list of what they are expected to do every day.  I help Samuel and Elisabeth as needed.  That's basically it.  They seem to be proud of their work, happier throughout the day, they keep things cleaner because they take some ownership in it. Ahh finally seeing some growth in this little garden!!  We are also taking steps to limit screen time and that seems to be helping the overall tone in our home.  Other than that, we've made our list of "fun things to do" and we're trying to do them.  Except Elisabeth wants to do things like "make hats" and I'm really like, really? do we have to make hats?! I'm not crafty and I don't really want to sit and make hats but there it is, sitting, staring at me on the fun list, wanting to be done. Crap.  So yeah.  There's things like that.  I'm more into the "make homemade ice cream" - lots of it.  Let's make lots of homemade ice cream, and popsicles, and smoothies, and cookies .... and forget all about counting calories .... ever . . . again.  Ugh.  It's too hot here.
We are also doing lots of pooltime and hopefully growing lots of great family memories. Summertime...

4. Finally, because I haven't updated in a long time, I'll just give a quick pain update.  It's still there. The beastly trigeminal neuralgia and chronic migraine. I added another medication that is supposed to be helping the migraines and could also combine to work with my other med to help my TN. I started in April and have been increasing the dose. April I had 17 migraine days.  May I had 14. June I had 10.  So you could say perhaps it's working. It could be coincidence. It could be any number of factors.  You could say any way you look at it, 10 migraine days in a month is still an awful dang lot of migraines!!!  I was disappointed when I counted it up because it felt like it had been such a better month for me.  hahaha.  That's still an awful lot of days.  And then I still have the daily TN pain.  But I'd have to say that pain is mostly down a notch.  So instead of generally being at a 6-7 on a 1-10 scale, it is mostly at around a 5-ish most of the time.  And I have some small hours at a time when I am almost without pain, which is glorious.  I have been able to exercise, or I am able to force myself to exercise most of the time, which I am grateful for - and I have been counting calories, which is miserable.  But it is a necessary evil, because I hate the weight I gained on the meds and being bedridden that first year and a half with the severe pain. It is/was a definite contributor to my depression.  I never know if or when I may be at that point again so I need to do all I can to become more physically healthy while I can or whenever I can.  It's been hard but worth it to see even small results.  So my pain is a little bit better.  Mostly now I get the ache  and stinging pain across my cheekbone, occasionally aching in my upper jaw, occasional aching and shooting pain in ear, pain around eye and in eye, tingling along tip of tongue, feeling like someone is pinching my ear - then the migraine either in my left eye and left side of forehead and head, or on my right side of head (I know that's
weird).  So that's the strange garden of my brain (these messed up neurons).  Just leave it alone - only the professionals can tell what's growing in there (metaphorically).

And there you have it.  Lots of growth and weeding and watering and fertilizing and nourishing and waiting and watching and hopefully harvesting.  All of it.  That's what life is, right?  Gardening. :)
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