Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Yup! Still not old yet...

I drive around these days with the windows open. Temps run around 65F. We'll have a couple of days of sun and then 1 or 2 of solid rain. It has to be keeping the pollen count down, and I'm grateful. I don't suffer the way some do, but any headache or sneezing is a distraction I can do without.

Life is taking on a rhythm, where the last week of the month I am assigned an article or two, making that week busier. That's the story this week...did one interview of sorts today and doing another tomorrow, for 2 more web exclusives for the local Laurel for June. My latest work (for their May issue) is here and here. The slideshow on the rocking chair article is blocking some of my text; I'm sending an email.

I find gratitude in such everyday things. Hopping out to the store, how pretty the weather is here. How people are friendlier, and the air is cleaner. Breathed in some diesel exhaust on the Interstate today and it made me miss Jacksonville, which is a sad testament.

Still feel that gratitude when I do laundry too...Mom J. deserves flowers, a medal, something for footing the bill on our used washer and dryer. Best damn housewarming we could've gotten, after 16 years of hoofing it to laundry rooms and the occasional coin-op. I'm still struck by the good fortune of simply having a washer/dryer in our apartment.

Trying to adjust my diet according to the doc's orders. It's not easy. Studying when I can, and hopefully it'll get easier. I am noticing that when I fall off the sugar wagon, my body tells me it's not amused now. That's quite helpful actually...keeps me paying attention.

Monday, April 22, 2013

New Week

So this is spring. I'd forgotten.

Looking at a solid week of 60s/40s. I open the windows in the morning and just listen to the breeze and the birds getting their lovin' on. Pollen's up a bit, I'm a touch sneezy and headachy, but we should get a little rain on Wednesday.

Half our plants were tossed yesterday as non-starts; I'll redo those tonight. Yesterday afternoon was spent reorganizing and assessing the plant sitch (Hubs) and making strawberry jam (me). Also made a spinach and cheese quiche this weekend, using very little recipe other than Ashley's sinfully rich pie crust, that was well-received by the Hubs. Onions had a heavier flavor next day...should really write down what I did, because I knocked that one outta the park. Seriously delicious.

Such a basic mistake...starter soil wasn't moist enough, so spritz watering didn't do anything to get germination going. Granted, we're also talking a less than optimal setup...electric blanket, cookie sheets on a twin bed, but hey, you make do with what you have. What did germinate rather hilariously was the black beans...set 'em to soak in a paper towel and forgot about them, and Hubs had to delicately untangle the sprouts because they'd woven themselves into and out of the fiber. Lessons learned.

I'm reading my books, decreasing my caffeine, making more smoothies, and started drinking Tulsi tea, which is supposed to help with immune boosting and anxiety. Just in time, because I dropped my Paxil dosage again. Doing OK with that, but I know it's in large part due to the fact that I don't have to go to an office everyday or do a lot socially yet. I'm planning to attend a class next Sunday, and the Sunday after that, so those will be good tests of just how chattery/wound up I get. Especially the May 5th one, because it's at Ashley's, whom I greatly admire and look forward to meeting.

Have a great week, y'all!

P.S. Had to add this link, because the ramps are rampant (winkwink) up here in western NC, to the point that I'm seeing them sold on the side of the road...can't wait to try them! Now just gotta find a GF pizza crust  recipe...

Thursday, April 18, 2013

WNC Livin'

I like the lack of clutter in this pic...it's motivating.

So dang busy lately. I know that part of it is my inability to schedule my time properly or focus when I need to. Thankfully it's also because there's actual work to be done, and real life jumps in occasionally. I'll be plunking along on sites and my editor will email me with changes on an article, or I'll catch wind of another job opportunity and that means writing a cover letter and deciding which writing samples to send. Really nice having a link to direct people to now, for an actual published article.

I'm learning that even with follow-up, hearing back from potential sources can be sketchy. There's some nice opportunities out there that haven't come to fruition, either because the work just isn't there right now, or they've forgotten about me in spite of my best efforts. Thank the gods for my contract job, because it pays the bills for now, and everything else is gravy. And I'm learning to treat those opportunities like that...like I'm looking at a pair of shoes for spring/summer, but they're not getting bought until the next check comes in the mail.

Doctor visit this week was illuminating. He gave me homework, which I'm VERY grateful for, because I like to think that the only thing keeping me from losing weight is me, and the truth is that I don't know everything and there's ways I can educate myself still, that will assist in that endeavor.

I notice my mood changing now as I wean off the meds. Takes longer to shake off the grumpies in the morning. That's OK, doc gave me advice on that too. And it still pretty much only takes stepping outside to the crazy gorgeousness of spring to lift my spirits. Everything's starting to bloom, and it's warming considerably here. The shade produced by the tree out front is surprising, and will be a welcome thing come summer. And it's raining just enough to keep the pollen from being a bitch.

Seeds ever so slowly starting to sprout indoors!

Got my books for World Book Night. They're large print, so I'm thinking of hitting up the local assisted living facilities. Got to visit Malaprop's finally; so cozy! Nice place for a wander when you're already parked downtown in the area. Actually, I take that back; there's 2 parking garages within walking distance. Downtown can be a bitch sometimes, but Malaprop's proximity to those garages makes it a viable place to visit, not just a place to tie in with other shopping.

Hope your week is going as well as mine is. Boston and Texas are in my thoughts, but I don't watch TV news past the initial reports, because the 24-hour news cycle is too ridiculous to waste my time on. My life isn't going to be improved by learning about how pressure cookers make ideal bombs or how the chemical composition of pressurized ammonia means the cadaver-sniffing dogs are having a hard time finding people. Kind of glad my shows are winding up too...I could definitely use a break from the box.

Image from here.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


I live with a pessimist, so it's only natural that I spend some time waiting for the other shoe to drop. Or in my case lately, to worry about not worrying enough about when the other shoe's gonna drop.

Our current apartment is roomy and far cleaner than our old one. It may seem to leak heat, but it also holds it well, as we discovered this week when the temps cranked up. I look around the place and feel so grateful for what I was able to find and make happen.

I woke up cranky this morning, it was an up-and-down night; but we trudged up early, the both of us, to check out one of the local tailgate markets nearby. Season opened for that one today, but the crowds weren't crazy, just right, as we pulled in about an hour after opening. People meander here, and wear their politics on their sleeves. Saw a 20-something in a gorgeous skirt, sandals, and a hoodie with a "Food Not Bombs" patch. Wanted to ask her where she got her whole outfit. There are signs asking folks respectfully that if they bring their dogs, that they leash them and keep them under control. Saw some pretty poodles and other breeds. No real produce yet beyond potatoes and greens...it was a baked goods and seed starts market mostly. Nice though, to hop out early with the Hubs, grab a bagel at Bruegger's, wander in the fresh air.

Back at the apartment, I'm trucking away on sites while Hubs grabs a nap. He's still weaning on his meds (truth be told, we both are...which could definitely be contributing to my ridiculously happy existence right now), so I let him nap whenever he needs to. That sounds weird...I ain't his mother. I pray we are only 2 weeks away from a new pain management program for him.

Most of the windows are open, letting in the most delicious breeze. I trimmed my bangs this morning and love them. The rest of the mop needs a trim pretty badly; I'm sure a stylist would say that it's fried from about 6 inches from the bottom, but I'm loving the length so I'm going to tough it out with creams and oils for now. Hate spending $30 for someone to cut it straight across the bottom and send me on my way. Maybe I can wear down my colorist...(AKA Hubs).

Last night we sat at the bar at Blue Mountain, ordered out, and I enjoyed a pale ale, him an Orange Nehi. We chatted up the big guy who hosts at the joint. Can't tell if he's the owner, but he acts like it. He said July and August get pretty hot, and there are 2 months in winter that are usually bitter, and then the rest is a long spring and a long fall. I still have trouble believing I got us here, and that good fortune fills me up inside. It's vacation with websites.

I paid the taxes yesterday, created a new budget sheet. I'm monitoring what I need to save on each check for the next quarter, so the taxes won't be a burden. That's pretty big for me, as we aren't the most responsible with money sometimes. We've gotten a lot better, living so rurally.

When I worry about loving it too much here, I remember how deeply unhappy I was in Florida. Since I believe in karma, I could worry about being too happy here, but since I was so unhappy in Florida, I think I'm safe believing it's balancing itself out. My beliefs are half-Buddhist, so I do get that there's a fair amount of suffering in life. And I certainly ain't skating by here...I work my arse off to keep the roof over our heads and food on the table. But I'm definitely due a bit of happiness, and to have that right now is exquisite and not something I can possibly take for granted.

Monday, April 08, 2013

I thought I knew, but.....

Have I been missing Connecticut all this time?

We moved to Florida from NC in 1986, and I was over-the-moon happy at the time, because I was leaving a bad social situation...AKA: having no friends and making a few enemies too. The first year in Florida was great - made friends, handled classes and band. Then the friends graduated and I didn't, and I was cast adrift, not knowing what the hell I wanted, just knowing I was stuck.

Knowing what I know now about my emotional issues and how I handled the transition from teen to adult, I can safely say I probably would've been just as miserable in CT. Probably more so, because living in NW Connecticut means harder decisions, and you're torn between wanting to live in the Big Apple or being stuck out in the boonies. I suppose Hartford would've been a happy medium, or I'd have followed Alexa to Boston. Christy's my bestie, but I wouldn't have lasted 5 minutes in NYC.

I didn't have the intelligence or wherewithal for the Ivy League, and that would've hurt more there, where the ivy literally clings to every other college you visit and I had dreams of being one of the kids in the movie The Paper Chase. Had Yale in my front yard and Harvard in the back, and both completely outta reach. I'm smart, but didn't realize then that you need a level of exceptional to get into those schools.

So I pressed on in Florida, with one foot always out the door, one eye trained on the horizon, and not enough wherewithal for years and years to take that first step. I knew I was unhappy...unless the temperatures dropped, I was downright miserable; and I still can't understand, even after 25+ years in that state, how people live there year-round. If you've had a taste of seasons and choose to live there anyway, then I guess we're just wired differently.

I was always looking north, whether it was by trying to get an Atlanta theater post when I was with AMC or dragging out our road trips to visit the inlaws while I scoured the different cities looking for a scratch to my itch. We came close in 2007, but didn't know enough about how to get housing, and thank goodness for that, because Columbia would've felt like Jacksonville with grits and sweet tea; and anyway, we lost Dad a month later.

But I kept searching, and last year something just clicked. I knew we were unhappy where we were, and I knew in spite of my idealization of Asheville, that it was still something I wanted to shoot for. We may move again next year, for all I know; nothing's set in stone, but for right now.....I simply wasn't taking no for an answer. Or rather, when someone said no, I said, "OK, then how about this?"

I wake in the mornings excited to take on the day. I step outside and the air greets me like a kiss. It's like living life on vacation. I know that's in part because I still don't have a real job, but I'm enjoying what I'm doing right now, still looking for opportunities, and keeping a roof over our heads, so hey, what's the rush?

Spring is finally hitting the hills here, and it's just ridiculous out, birds chirping up a storm, warmer temps, lingering wood smoke on the wind, and everything starting to bud. The forsythia tugs at my heart in a particularly special way, because we had a nice big bush of it in the front yard on Above All (next to the lilacs...man, those colors!), and noting those yellow flowers making their appearance here fills my heart to bursting.

Maybe I needed all that time in Florida to truly appreciate the move. All I know is the only way I'm moving back there is if they discover a cure for migraines in the Fountain of Youth. I'm embracing seasons again with a healthy dose of barbecue and working on my Yankee-tinged drawl. I'm incredibly happy.


Mom J visiting this weekend, the tail end of a vacation for her. A couple of days of crappy posture strained my back somehow, so I took an extra day off from walking, but between running department store errands and a bead shop jaunt, I've been getting walking in. But I was back at it this morning, just 2 miles on the track, slow clip, more concerned with doing the distance than working on speed, with a couple of fishermen enjoying their day off in the creek to my right and the birds making a sexy racket overhead. My focus is on work this afternoon, and knitting this evening. Determined to get off the dang laptop during TV time. Just no reason for that nonsense. So far, so very good.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Spring sneaking in...

I'm sleepy and spent way too many hours on the computer today, catching up from sparse website queues. Was also behind this week so I could write 2 articles for a local publication and field a hopeful job opportunity. Today I knuckled down, and thankfully am closer to my weekly goal than I thought I'd be. Still gotta work Saturday, but not as daunting now. I'll take Sunday off to clean, relax, and start seeds.

But this quick post is about walking. I've been at it every other day, and I'm determined to stay off the scale, because I don't want to be disappointed by a number, when there's really no reason to be disappointed. My body is reacting to the walking like some kind of taut machine. My jiggles disappear against the work that walking these hills is. My muscles are developing again, and my tummy flattens, in ways that are hardly noticeable to the untrained eye, but which I feel in the way I'm able to move my body differently, the way I'm not as tired after doing regular tasks, the way my inflammation is down. I've been managing 2 miles on decent hills, so today, since I knew I wanted to walk the track instead, which is flat, I did 3 miles. My body will ache a bit tomorrow, but it will only motivate me for Sunday's walk.

The buffet was open at the soccer field amidst the track today. The week prior was on and off rain, and it had finally started to clear today after a 24-hour stretch of the wet stuff. There were at least 2 dozen robins on the soccer field taking advantage of the protein that had crawled to the surface. Also some kind of bird that looked like a young jay, no head plumage, but similar body coloring, and I made another mental note that I'd love to buy a bird book. It's easy enough to spot a male cardinal, but the variety here has me curious. It's time to start homeschooling Melanie again. Plus I put a bird feeder out front, and I'd love to be able to identify the local clientele taking advantage of my generosity.

I set my water bottle near a tree since I had the track to myself, and used one of my stitch counters to tick off the laps, because it's easy to miscount by about lap 6. Worked great. The track is .23 miles, so 13 laps put me at a very satisfying 2.99 miles. The skies stayed cloudy, I watched the fog lift and lower over the mountains to the north, and 2 Canada geese flew overhead. At one point, some signal known only to the robins caused them all to fly up into the trees for a bit. Safety re-established, they came down in groups and explored once again.

I'm so in love with this area. To have seasons back without a bitter, heavy winter. To recognize things from my childhood. This week, the forsythia has been blooming. Today as I stepped out my front door to drive to the track, I noticed a critter on the blacktop. My first wooly bear in 26 years! I scooped him up and brought him in to show Hubs. Next, I have my eye peeled for chipmunks.

Happy Friday, y'all!

Image from here

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Canning Convert

 Today's breakfast consists of coffee with a homemade waffle with organic peanut butter and homemade strawberry jam.

Your argument is invalid.