Monday, June 25, 2012

A Productive Weekend: The First Step Closer to Finding What is Waiting For Us

This weekend was spent making BIG plans. Big, exciting, scary plans for the future. Saying it out loud and now writing it here to be preserved in blog land is scary, but we decided last week that working 40 hours in an office for the next 23 years (until we can retire and receive our pension…) is not what we want. We’ve known that for a long time, but we haven’t been brave enough to commit to changing it. Now, we’re ready to start working toward a BIG change. A change that will mean uprooting everything and downsizing and prioritizing, and as much as that makes me want to hurl and bury my head under the covers, the end result makes me very happy.

I stumbled across this quote last week, and I took it as a sign that we need to seriously consider this and weigh our options.

We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.

-Joseph Campbell

We spent Saturday unwinding from the week. We went rafting with new friends and laughed the whole way down the river. It was a perfect day, and then we came home and ate way too much green chile and sopapillas.

loving my mermaid nail polish on the river!

Yesterday we went up to the cabin with our flipcharts and markers in tow and started to make a grand plan.

The girls hunted lizzies...

And we got to work...

Dorky, I know, but lists and flipcharts and probing questions really DO work. Even talking about a big change is scary for me because I hate change! I keep reminding myself about how Sara has been tackling her big and grand plans one step at a time, and I'm taking comfort in knowing that we have support and encouragement and role models around us.

We came home last night with a feeling of excitement and hung the big sheets up on our bedroom wall where we can see them from bed. Eeee!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Square Foot Gardening: Building a Vertical Frame

In order to accommodate vine crops like tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, beans, etc., you can incorporate a vertical frame into your SFG. The vertical frames are made of a steel frame with nylon netting. The vines grow up the netting providing you with a third dimension to your garden and an efficient use of space. Most vine crops only use one square foot of space in the garden, and it is pretty cool to have a wall of green growing out of your garden.

People I told about my SFG last year were skeptical about the depth of the soil, but that was nothing compared to the looks and comments I received at garden stores when I went looking for nylon netting and told people what I was planning to do with it. People told me it would never work and that it wouldn't hold the weight - I don't think SFG is that off the wall and you'd think that people who make their living selling gardening supplies would have at least heard of it... I doubted myself and Mel, but in the end, I went ahead with the vertical frame and proved the naysayers wrong. I love proving negative nellies wrong so it was really satisfying to see my tomatoes and cucumbers climbing their way all the way up my nylon netting and doing spectacularly.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Weekend Home Alone

Andrew went up to the cabin this weekend, and I had the whole weekend to myself. As much as I love being home together, it is really nice to have time alone once in a while.

I made shrimp scampi pasta, gardened, hung out with Elsa (Lola went to the cabin with Andrew), watched trashy tv (I remember watching it as a kid with my mom, staying up late and eating popcorn for dinner - ah memories!), and cooked a Greek feast for a new friend (recipes to come this week!).

And the best part of the weekend was that I had two long phone conversations with my best friends from Minnesota. We caught up and made plans for the annual labor day festivities and talked about the best day of the year. Although I couldn't skype (turns out our computer is too old...), it was so nice to chat and make plans and have lots of same page moments.

A nice little weekend home alone. Everyone was pretty happy though when we heard the truck pull up and the family was back together again.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Tears on My Pillow

My, oh, my it’s feeling pretty maudlin over here these days, but these are sweet tears, I promise.

Every Friday morning we stay in bed long after the alarm has gone off and when we should be getting ready for the day, but it is worth it be late each week to hear StoryCorps.

If you’re not familiar with the project, StoryCorps records stories from everyday people talking about their lives and experiences. Each conversation is recorded and archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. According to their website, they’ve archived more than 40,000 interviews from nearly 80,000 participants.

Each week on Morning Edition, they play a short clip from one of the recordings. It is usually two people interviewing each other, and man, are they tear jerkers. There was the one a few weeks ago about the WWII veteran who played the bugle for his battalion and was asked to play taps for all of the fallen soldiers after the war ended. He recalls the music floating out through the valley and hills. Oh lord, just thinking about it makes me teary. Or, the one about the young African-American boy who the police tried to stop from swimming in the country club pool in the 1960s and whose mother stood up for him trying to make a better life for him than her generation. I love the ones about couples the best. The ones about folks who have been married for decades and tell us what they’ve learned and how they appreciate each other or couples who found love later in life and are so thankful or the couples who have supported each other through difficult times. Those get me every time.

Every Friday we snooze away in bed, until we hear the signature music and Steve Inskeep telling us it’s time for StoryCorps, and then we both roll over toward the radio and hug each other tight and prepare to cry.

Do you listen to StoryCorps?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Ra ra ra for sky u ma!

I haven't been home to Minnesota since last September, and I am so homesick. The years that we spend Christmas in New Mexico are especially hard for me. I was hoping to go home this spring but the plane tickets were ridiculously expensive and even more ridiculous was my vacation accrual.

Except for Andrew and the girlies (and my cousin Patrick but I get to see him in MN when I visit) all of my favorite people in the world live in Minneapolis - my best friends and my family and I miss them so much. I need the recharge of being surrounded by people who know me so well and who I love more than anything.

Loving where we're from seems to be a Minnesotan thing...

Spending time at home is so rejuvenating for me, and as much as I like our friends and our wonderful life in New Mexico, sometimes the torrid parts outweigh the terrific and it wears me down. Sometimes I just need to go home and be in the place where I'm from.  Do you ever feel like that? I feel such a strong sense of place and that has always been important to me. No matter where I go my heart will always live in Minnesota, and it feels so good to spend time in a place where I'm so at home and surrounded by my people.

land o' cutes

It can be hard to be from a place that people don't leave. Sometimes I feel like the fool who hunkered down somewhere else when I already had the chance to hunker down in a hunkering down, my people place.

miss you

Sunday, June 10, 2012


We treated ourselves this weekend to happy hours on the front porch with excellent bourbon, long and lazy afternoons lounging around, cooling down in the river with the dog girls, and a perfect Saturday night date at home.

I hope you can make this out. It is Lola RUNNING in the River!!
lots of treats
dry aged rib eyes
175 seconds - 275 seconds - 125 seconds = perfection
dinner on the back patio
perfectly cooked
a loyal and focused friend
my favorite time of night

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Square Foot Gardening: Installing the Grid

Every box should have a grid so that you can easily plant each of your square feet. The grid will help you with spacing of the plants and help you keep track of what you've planted. It's also really satisfying to see how much you will grow in a single square foot.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Square Foot Gardening: Mixing Your Soil

The Square Foot Gardening method uses special soil that you mix yourself. Mel's mix is made of 1/3 compost, 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 vermiculite. This is the loveliest soil I've ever worked with - it drains well, holds moisture, and it sparkles in the sun. The ingredients can be pricey, but you can reuse it from year to year with only adding compost when you replant.

My recommendation for the soil is to not skimp. My neighbor tried SFG a few years ago, but only used a tiny amount of vermiculite because it is expensive. She didn't have very good results and abandoned her garden. If you're going to do it, I say commit to doing it right and not cutting corners with the soil. The soil is the most important part of SFG and you'll be reusing your soil from year to year so you want to get it right.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Square Foot Gardening: Building Your Boxes

So, you're already convinced that square foot gardening is the way to go and you've made your plan, now you can get to work!

Assemble all of your materials and tools before you begin building. You'll need the wood to construct the boxes, galvanized (or something equivalent) wood screws at least 3 inches long, weed cloth to attach to the bottom of the box, and staples or roofing nails. As far as tools, you'll need a drill, a circular saw (if you don't have one, the lumber yard should be able to cut your wood for you for free), a staple gun or hammer to attach the weed cloth, and a razor knife or scissors.
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