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Sep. 9th, 2011

@Espresso

Seriously missing the fun gene

What a whiny subject line!  This is not a whiny post, really, I promise.

Last week I took Rocketboy (and Buttercup) to the Great New York State Fair.  What I learned is that the solution to the difficulty of having a super high-energy 8 yr old boy is having 2 super high-energy eight year old boys!  We brought a friend and it was awesome. They rode some insane number of rides, they wasted too much money winning really cheap stuffed animals and were thrilled about it. They ate hot dogs, drank lemonade, had instant ice cream made with liquid nitrogen. It was end of summer heaven. Rocketboy was so glad to have a friend there, that he didn't complain (too much) when we spent a long time looking crazy chickens (OMG - Candy Cane Silkies - WTF! People dye their chickens!) and row after row of cows.

My problem was my distinct lack of fun. We wandered around the midway and the conversation in my head went something like this: 
"Wow, how much energy does it take to run one of these things? They just load them on trucks and transport these huge machines around the country burining more fossil fuels." Then, "I have to throw away this food packaging! Where are the recycling bins? What do you mean there are no recycling bins on the midway!?!" And my ever-favorite as the boys begged to try to win more stuffed animals, "What are the conditions in the factory (probably in China) where these cheap toys were made? How old were the workers?" Yeah, I was a bucket of fun, luckily I kept it to myself.  All that stuff is important and is part of making good chioces for the sake of our world, but I need to loosen up!

I'm going out tomorrow night. I don't know where or with whom, but I'm leaving the kids with Steve and heading out.  I think I've been in my own house and in my own head too much lately.

Jul. 6th, 2011

@Espresso

Ithaca is not Ohio, or the death of farmland

After a lovely trip to NYC for a long weekend which ended in a less than lovely trip through traffic-filled NJ, exacerbated by extreme grumpiness over buying dishes (stupid dishes!), we landed back in our beautiful, spacious town for a whole two days before we got back into the car and went away again.  This time to Ohio to visit my sister, her 3 amazing daughters, and her grandson (I'm a great-aunt, gah!). 

I've visited them in Ohio plenty, but this time, the trip was fascinating.  Whenever I visited there from NYC it was just another visit to a random suburb with all its sad cookie-cutter development and sea of big box stores.  This time, coming form my new home, it was a visit to every city planner's nightmare.  Her town and my town have very similar demographics (relatively similar population, sq miles, county population, etc) but that's where all similarities end.  Here I live in a compact, walkable town, with a strong downtown core that actually gets used regularly.  Within a few miles of the town center you have lots and lots of farmland and natural areas. The big box chain stores are relegated to just north of town and just west of town, both in strips that are relatively short.  Ithaca certainly doesn't rate more than one of any chain store and many of the national chains don't bother with Ithaca at all.  In her town there are housing developments after housing developments all built on old farmland, it takes 20 minutes of driving to get anywhere, the shopping strips are huge, trafficy, and never-ending and if you drive for a while down the same road, you'll start to see repeats, if not of the store itself, the type of store.  All with a similar population.  Either they must shop all the time for anything and everything or the people in Ithaca are particularly non-consumerist.  Or both.  Either way, the contrast was dramatic.

What shocked me most of all was the dirt.  This weekend as a birthday present for my niece, I installed a perennial garden around her deck.  My sister was so impressed, she asked if I could make an herb garden for her.  I did so, happily.  But in both cases I was dismayed when I started digging.  It was hot, the sun was beating down, and the soil was hard clay.  There are trees around, but they are all rather young and small. Or at least I thought they were young and small.  The ones in my sister's development were at least 10-15 years old.  Not too old for a tree, but considering their canopy I was underwhelmed.  And in the middle of trying to get a shovel into the hard clay soil it dawned on me: the entire landscape is flattened, stunted, and sterile.  I always thought of the midwest as pretty flat (in every sense of the word) but I started looking around and seeing pockets of undeveloped land among the rest.  There are hills there, small ones, but they exist. Those hills are often home to mature trees with broad, generous canopies.  Everywhere else the land had been bulldozed, flattened, the topsoil stripped away, and what was left compacted by heavy machinery building everyone's American Dream.  This is not new information.  I have my master's degree in Landscape Architecture and spent plenty of time studying about how bad development rapes the land, but that was all theoretical knowledge. When I tried to thrust that shovel into the hard packed clay all the understanding of what had been done to the land vibrated up through my elbows and landed in my muscles and became a deep, vibrating understanding.  How could anything possibly grow in such constraining clay? The trees, the people, the government are all girdled and they don't even know it.  They mow their lawns and throw away the clippings. Thoughts, ideas, leaves don't go back into the great cycle of living.  No wonder Middle America is what it is. I wish my sister and her kids could live somewhere richer. I love them dearly and want life for them to be bigger.  My one niece just got back from a year in New Zealand with all its beauty and adventure. She's suffering from the shock. I don't blame her one bit. After seeing so much of the world life can't be filled with strip malls.

In installing those gardens this weekend, I tried to take some if the land back from the developers.  I laid in lasagna gardens with layers of grass, straw, clippings, manure, compost, sand, and topsoil in hopes that it will all compost together beautifully and give a worm somewhere to live. 

Now, I am glad to be back in Ithaca with all its glorious bugs and trees and pure fecundity.  It is an older town, with old houses, old trees, and things rotting everywhere.  The rot is good - it means there are leaves falling and microbes doing their marvelous transformations so that we can grow and nourish new things.  I saw a luna moth last night.  It was eerie and amazing. I saw more kinds of beetles today than I can name.  There are at least 3 different kids of moths flitting around the house (I let the dog out and she nosed her way back in - the door stood open long enough). There are more species of trees in this town than anywhere else east of the Mississippi thanks to a long line of experimental-minded town foresters. I  spent my day making, not consuming for the sake of consumption.  That is good.

May. 21st, 2011

@Espresso

Emotionally ambiguous spring.

All this spring (as cold and as wet as it is, my emotions have been a grand mixture of "Hooray! I left the house wearing a t-shirt and everything is green and wonderful!" and "Gah! I'm not ready.  My front garden bed isn't built yet and the indoor winter projects on the house aren't finished and oh good lord, how is it that the first blooms are already done." 

Now I realize that state epitomizes not just my feeling towards gardens but towards life in general.  Rocketby has a little over a month left of school, I have a business starting up, Buttercup is getting older and I really have to start engaging her more with challenges to her experience and intellect. We're in a tiny upstate town and I revel in all the beauty and friendliness and ease that comes with being here while still harboring all sorts of anxiety about our big move out of the city, mostly precipitated by my darling husband having regular freak-outs about it.  Here I thought that by actually moving we could get past the all that bad feeling about where we should live, instead, there's a whole new layer of doubt over everything.  This past Tuesday was such a bad episode that I began to wonder (as the paint in our bedroom is barely dry) whether we'll be here long.  I've always wanted to grow hardy kiwis.  They are a great vine with one of my favorite fruits and they will survive our frigid winters. The only problem is that they take 7 years to bear fruit.  I've never had 7 years anywhere before and deep down I was hoping to have it here, but somewhere in the middle of Tuesday morning in the midst of Steve's meltdown, all I could think is "I guess that means no kiwi for me."  
The reality is that we're not going anywhere, unless there was a major opportunity for one of us elsewhere, but we're not even looking for those kinds of opportunities so there is no reason to expect something big to fall into our laps. the reality is that here is good.

What kills me about this is that there have been a string of good days all around Tuesday, yet that one meltdown seems to hold sway over all the other good days combined.  It's so vicious - why do we always give faults, mistakes, criticisms, doubts, and failings so much more weight in our lives?  We'd be so much more healthy if we could look at eh good and bad clearly.  In all this I keep wishing I could be a statistician with beautiful charts of good day/bad days.  I wish I could quantify all these messy emotions into clear graceful bar graphs and pie charts.  They'd be so much easier to handle then.

Apr. 21st, 2011

@Espresso

Gardening is an act of love or where I've been these last few months

Gardening is an act of love.

 

This weekend was the test launch of my new company: Dig, Grow, Love

 

You see, I love gardening, I love garden design, and I especially love infecting others with that same love. What I don’t love is that for the last 12 years that I’ve been doing it professionally, I’ve only been able to work for high-end clients, institutions, and municipalities – the only ones who can budget for a designer fee and an installation crew.  There’s something inherently undemocratic about that, but a woman’s gotta eat, right?

 

I think I may have figured out better way. Meet Dig, Grow, Love, the love-child of a barn raising, a Tupperware party, and the Make Festival, all rolled into one. Imagine you want to renovate that garden or grow your own veggies but have no idea how. You need help, but hiring a designer and crew is too expensive. Instead, HOST A GARDENING PARTY! I will guide you and your friends, gently teaching you what you need to know to get started, using your garden as a lab. At the end of the day you have a new garden, your friends have taken a fun class, and everyone is empowered to go out and dig, grow, and share the love of gardening. You pay for the materials, each of the guests pays a class fee, and all of you have access to an expert garden designer. Better still, part of the proceeds of each party helps fund a garden for a needy school, family, community, or individual.

 

We tried it out this weekend, renovating the small front entrance garden of an adorable house in the suburbs of NYC. My host, a dear friend, had gathered some friends around her who all wanted to learn more about gardening.  I had always thought that working with friends would be fun, since any chore is more manageable with good friends and good conversation. What I had not anticipated was the love. It felt good, really good, to build a garden for my friend. It’s a gift only I could have given her.  As I stood there with the party guests, digging and planting, I realized we were all giving her a gift. Every time she walked into her house the plants we nurtured for her would meet her. 

 

There was another gift going around – connection.  The guests were all friends or colleagues of the hostess, but after this shared experience, they all had one more point of connection, strengthening whatever bond may have already existed.

 

Socially, it was great.  As a business, I was able to experiment with some teaching techniques and work out a couple of kinks in my class design.  Everyone seemed to have gone home happy and, most importantly, empowered to go dig in their own gardens.  I learned so much.  All along I was a little hesitant about using the Gardening Party as a vehicle for sales, but I realized that by the end of the party the guests all felt safe, able to choose armed with knowledge and real experience.  They expressed that they would have liked to have gone home with some small tools or a starter kit.  I realized that for a new gardener going to a nursery is intimidating, a source of anxiety; but buying from a trusted teacher, after learning about the tools and plants, could be a pleasure.  I just have to not ever get greedy and violate that trust by selling someone something they don’t need.

 

Now I just have to follow that up with more, more, more.  I’m working through the incorporation paperwork and I’m trying to figure out how to structure the sales end.  I have to figure out how to operate in multiple states.  I’m also working on choosing community partners to support with the proceeds of each party.  Originally, I was going to have Dig, Grow, Love create a arm of the organization specifically to reach into underserved communities, especially where food security is an issue, but I realize that is just too much for me to handle.  Better for me to regularly hand over funds and volunteer with an organization with an established infrastructure, than try to invent one.

 

Oh yeah, and I have to build a website, get people to know what Dig Grow Love is, and create a movement. 

 

Wish me good luck! Better yet, wish me the power to keep my brain focused while reading dry business-creation paperwork and literature.

 

 

Mar. 12th, 2011

@Espresso

Brainstorming a manifesto

Creating a gardening manifesto

I don’t know who’s more excited about Dig! Grow! Love! - me or my husband.  When I thought about starting this business I was thinking local and homegrown, and not just the plants.  “Local” as in dealing with clients in and around my newly adopted hometown of Ithaca, NY.  “Homegrown” as in me sitting at my studio at home making it all happen.  In my original concept, I would work with gardening clients - both public and private - empowering people to get out and get dirty.  I’ve done garden design for clients in their penthouses who preferred the rarefied ideal of a beautiful garden vista as seen from their windows.  I’ve also done the polar opposite - strategizing what to plant and where to discourage public urination in scrappy city parks. 

I was planning for my work to fall somewhere in between these extremes, working with clients who appreciate gardens as something other than a convenient bathroom and who also want to get down and dirty with plants.  I want to teach people about their gardens and about working with the earth.  I want my love of gardening to go viral, so that each of my clients can grow as excited about a new plant as I do (OK, maybe that’s a stretch - I’ve been know to run up to a plant in a nursery and hug it, giddily placing it in my cart - but really, wouldn’t you if you saw this Sambucus nigra “Black Lace”

image

So while I don’t necessarily want them to publicly embarrass their friends, partners, or children, I do want them to acquire the skills to become self-sufficient gardeners within a community of other self-sufficient gardeners and to pass on their enthusiasm to others. I want to build grass roots! 

I was brainstorming with my dear husband and he inspired me to think big.  While local is good, and Ithaca is a great place to get started, really there’s no reason to limit myself.  In the internet age and with some smart licensing, there’s no reason I can’t have a far wider reach.

That requires me to teach more and write more, which make me perfectly happy.  What makes me even happier and has filled my husband with glee is his brilliant idea of organizing Dig! Grow! Love! garden parties.  Not the garden parties of old ladies wearing big floppy hats (don’t get me wrong, I love old ladies with big floppy hats and I full intend to be one someday), but hip, exciting, fun parties with a great soundtrack and people having fun, getting, dirty, and doing hands-on gardening projects so they can learn techniques and build the confidence to go out and garden in their homes and in their communities.

All this has a purpose that’s rooted in self-sufficiency, food security, community building, and environmental remediation, I just need to get that part on paper.  I can’t exactly write grants and get funding for these education parties without a good mission statement.  So while the baby is asleep, the boy is engrossed and my husband is off drawing somewhere, I need to get to writing.

Keep growing!

Feb. 10th, 2011

@Espresso

It's all about me

Doors seem to be opening all over the place and we might be in a position to step though them!

I just need to tighten up some documents and deal with some logistics so I can make it all work:

• I'm working to finish a planting plan for my client - this is not a design so much as a planting palette, so while I need a vague design in mind, I don't need to be so exacting with quantities and placement yet.

•I need to update my CV (well I have to create a CV since it seems more relevant than a resume) so I can be accepted as a reviewer in the architecture department at Ithaca College.  Why are resumes so hard?  I always find that I have a hard time recognizing my own accomplishments, and the accomplishments I do have seem so long ago that I wonder if they are still relevant.  Will I come off as a has-been holding on to past glories but who is currently irrelevant?  I've been out of my profession since 2008.  Right now 3 years seems like a forever.  I also worry about the relevance of the accomplishments I had as a student.  I gave lectures and organized symposia, generally good things to have on a resume, but because they were done in my grad student days, somehow they feel less "real."  How do you all deal with this?

• I need to find a babysitter, stat!  I will likely start the Master Composter training course for the Cooperative Extension next Thursday night.  I had the interview today.  As it turns out they will have to turn away about 1/3 of their applicants.  When I heard that it gave me pause, but by the end of the interview, my interviewer was throwing around phrases like "perfect fit" and "ideal candidate" so I don't think I have to worry about being accepted. I just have to worry about having childcare available since that is Steve's regular night to go to Syracuse.  I've never had Audrey babysat by someone other than a family member of good friend, and even then, it's usually nighttime babysitting which means she's mostly asleep. I'm going to ask around Jacob's school.  Hopefuly I can find someone who is available during the week.  With me having actual clients now, I need to have a regular work schedule and can't rely on the babe's nap time or nights.  I've been really hesitant to get a sitter until now and I guess it's a good thing this class is forcing our hand.  If we get someone we can use regularly, and who Audrey likes (and Jacob too, though he's easier), Steve and I will be free to go out together for once.   If all goes well, I can find someone to come over earlier in the week so we can be here and the kids can get to know the sitter before we leave them with her/him on Thursday.

I try to live an anxiety-free life, rolling with whatever life hands me, but I can feel the nervousness creeping up.  Right now it's creeping up in the form of me posting to this journal instead of doing what I really need to do.  Can one put "Talented Procrastinator" on one's CV?

Feb. 8th, 2011

@Espresso

Babe's asleep, must shovel!

Will run outside to deal with the snow in a moment, but I just wanted to take a moment to breathe, contemplate, and write.  I have made a vow to myself that from now on, Audrey's sleep time will, very strictly, be my work time.  I refuse to do housework while she's asleep, even though it's necessary and I feel like I'm still digging myself out of the cooking mess I made this weekend.

(By the way, the weekend was fabulous.  We had some new friends over and what a wonderful surprise!  Steve and I both really like the husband in the family, but Saturday night was the first time we met the wife or daughter.  They are all pretty wonderful and the night was filled with story swapping, game playing, and laughter - from everyone.   Plus, the wife teaches architectectual history as well as a design studio and asked if I would consider being a reviewer!  Not only is she a lovely person, but we have a lot of the same professional interests.  What a treat to meet someone who could be a friend both on personal and professional levels. On a completely different note, I've been talking to Steve for the last few months about the idea of going back to school for my PhD.  Our fabulous dinner guest did just that - practiced as an architect for a short time then went back for a PhD. I'll have to talk with her about that more.)

My one exception to the chores ban is shoveling.  The snow is fluffy and being outside is therapeutic for me, not to mention it will give me more time to contemplate some garden design issues I've been working on. Today's gardening task: build a good full-sun deer-proof perennials list for my client.  Tomorrow I'll tackle the shrubs.

Hooray shoveling!  Hooray garden design work!

Feb. 3rd, 2011

@Espresso

Happy things & accomplishments

Now that Rocketboy has been in school for a second week, I'm starting to get a rhythm, or maybe not so much a rhythm but the early inklings that there might be a rhythm emerging from this chaos in the near future. 

Some accomplishments / things that make me happy

1) We're eating at home a LOT more than we ever did in NYC and now that I have time to cook I'm thrilled to test out more recipes that involve produce that is available this time of year.  Luckily for me, I love root vegetables in all their forms.  Doubly lucky, there's a greenhouse in town that specializes in hydroponically grown greens.

2) I'm still a lousy housekeeper, and now that I have some more available time to manage the mundane housekeeping chores, I am NOT spending my time extra sweeping and straightening.  I could spend all my time that way, but I choose not to. Instead I'm spending some intense one-on-one time with Buttercup, I'm starting to formulate a plan for the garden, and I'm beginning to lay groundwork to start my own design firm again.

3) I'm studying again.  See how I mentioned planning for my garden.  Our house has a quarter acre of rather varied property: some deep shade, some bright sun, some slope, some flat, all of it will be renovated by yours truly.  It isn't too daunting, considering that I have been a professional garden designer since 1999.  But here's the problem: I haven't done any significant gardening in years.  Between grad school, working at a Landscape Architecture firm, having a baby, homeschooling Rocketboy, and living in NYC I've barely gotten my hands dirty for the last few years.  I feel like I've forgotten so much. So I picked up my favorite gardening books, plus a few new ones, and have been reading like crazy.  It's all coming back and it's mostly stuff I already know, but I'm glad I'm doing it.  It feels REALLY GOOD to read for the purpose of acquiring knowledge that I know I'll be applying. 

4) I had my first client meeting today!  It's a baby step towards getting my garden design business off the ground.  The client is a good one andI feel like the universe has conspired to send me this particular job.  Here's why:  while contemplating what I want out of my own garden I have decided I want something a bit more formal while still having a modern/post-modern edge. It's all about the parterre (think formally outlined geometric shapes filled in with looser, more colorful plants).  It turns out that this client has already set out space for a parterre in front of his house.  Then to the west of the driveway, opposite the entrance and the parterre, he has a 3000 sq ft area he wants to be a mixed border (perennials and shrubs) which just so happened to be my expertise, way back in the before days when I had my own business.  So here's a chance to work out my current obsession while flexing an old, strong muscle.  This is a dream client for two more reasons too - he's is incredibly well connected in this town and knows everyone and is very generous with introductions, and when asked about budget, he's told me that he's making these gardens a priority and has budgeted such and that I am not to be too concerned with how much things cost.  Did I mention he's also an all around nice guy.  Yowza!  Thank you Universe for this amazing chance to get started!  Now I need a new business name.  Brooklyn Dirt just won't cut it in Ithaca, and Ithaca Dirt just doesn't sound right. Must brainstorm.

5) On the way back from this client meeting, I stopped in at the Cooperative Extension and signed up to be a Master Composter and, later in the year, to become one of their Master Gardeners.  This involves me taking some classes (yay studying!), putting in volunteer hours, and being certified. I've always wanted to do this, and now I finally can.

6) We drove up to Syracuse a couple of weeks ago to get to the Apple Store and to visit some friends.  We drove past a giant, empty parking lot wasteland covered in snow, and there it was, a perfect teardrop shaped snow drift among all the flatness. I was thrilled!  A few years ago I designed a theoretical landscape for just such a location that would take advantage of snowfalls and prevailing winds to create an interesting winter display - basically a field covered with teardrop shaped snowdrifts, created by exactingly designed screens of willow, to catch the light just so.  Back then I spent hours calculating wind patterns and snow drifts to make sure the design I chose would work.  I was so gratified to see, years later, that perfect teardrop specimen with a long bluish lavender shadow.  

7) Winter is good.  Even with all this snow, I'm thoroughly enjoying it up here.  I'd much prefer to get my cardio workout by shoveling (snow, mulch, dirt, manure) than any other way.  I just have to remember to go outside more.  It's so cozy in this house, it's often hard to leave. 

That's it for now.  The children are asleep, the dinner dishes need to be cleaned up, laundry put away, and a basement room needs to be cleared to receive all my seed starting equipment (did I mention I'll be starting many of the plants for this client! I love seed starting & I can't wait!).  Only some of that will get done tonight, but none of it will happen if I don't get started now.

Feb. 2nd, 2011

@Espresso

Pleased & don't want to forget it

Now that Rocketboy has been in school for a second week, I'm starting to get a rhythm, or maybe not so much a rhythm but the early inklings that there might be a rhythm emerging from this chaos in the near future. 

Some accomplishments / things that make me happy

1) We're eating at home a LOT more than we ever did in NYC and now that I have time to cook I'm thrilled to test out more recipes that involve produce that is available this time of year.  Luckily for me, I love root vegetables in all their forms.  Doubly lucky, there's a greenhouse in town that specializes in hydroponically grown greens.

2) I'm still a lousy housekeeper, and now that I have some more available time to manage the mundane housekeeping chores, I am NOT spending my time extra sweeping and straightening.  I could spend all my time that way, but I choose not to. Instead I'm spending some intense one-on-one time with Buttercup, I'm starting to formulate a plan for the garden, and I'm beginning to lay groundwork to start my own design firm again.

3) I'm studying again.  See how I mentioned planning for my garden.  Our house has a quarter acre of rather varied property: some deep shade, some bright sun, some slope, some flat, all of it will be renovated by yours truly.  It isn't too daunting, considering that I have been a professional garden designer since 1999.  But here's the problem: I haven't done any significant gardening in years.  Between grad school, working at a Landscape Architecture firm, having a baby, homeschooling Rocketboy, and living in NYC I've barely gotten my hands dirty for the last few years.  I feel like I've forgotten so much. So I picked up my favorite gardening books, plus a few new ones, and have been reading like crazy.  It's all coming back and it's mostly stuff I already know, but I'm glad I'm doing it.  It feels REALLY GOOD to read for the purpose of acquiring knowledge that I know I'll be applying. 

4) We drove up to Syracuse a couple of weeks ago to get to the Apple Store and to visit some friends.  We drove past a giant, empty parking lot wasteland covered in snow, and there it was, a perfect teardrop shaped snow drift among all the flatness. I was thrilled!  A few years ago I designed a theoretical landscape for just such a location that would take advantage of snowfalls and prevailing winds to create an interesting winter display - basically a field covered with teardrop shaped snowdrifts, created by exactingly designed screens of willow, to catch the light just so.  Back then I spent hours calculating wind patterns and snow drifts to make sure the design I chose would work.  I was so gratified to see, years later, that perfect teardrop specimen with a long bluish lavender shadow.  

5) Winter is good.  Even with all this snow, I'm thoroughly enjoying it up here.  I'd much prefer to get my cardio workout by shoveling snow than any other way.  I just have to remember to go outside more.  It's so cozy in this house, it's often hard to leave. 

That's it for now.  The babe is asleep and I am going to try to get Rocketboy to pick out some garden seeds with me and maybe even have him design the children's garden with me.

Jan. 28th, 2011

@Espresso

Dinner & tooth = fail. Overall week = win!

J's second week of school has been great.  He's happy, adjusting quickly,  and making friends.  I'm trying to adjust too.  I suddenly have "free" time, only not really.  Somehow having to deal with only one kid feels like a vacation, but one with lots of baggage. Now that I have one less child for 6 hours a day, I suddenly feel like I should be twice as productive.  I'm trying to remind myself to take some one-on-one time with Buttercup. For her whole life, she's had to share my time with her big brother.  Now that it's just the two of us, I have to remember that it's ok to do nothing but be with her.  I can't help but feel that the void of Rocketboy needs to be filled with productive time.

I'm trying to be realistic about my time and I've decided that I can only do one extra 2 hr thing each day in addition to the childcare and the usual cooking/cleaning/childcare.  Any goal bigger than that will just frustrate me.  So Monday I painted a primer coat in the bedroom. Tuesday I cooked enough to get us by half the week. Wed, Steve and I had a nice long coffee with a friend who just moved to town. Thurs, I can't remember (ugh!) and today I had a root canal.

Did I mention I hate my teeth.  The root canal was easy, as far as these things go, but I hate that my teeth are so lousy.  I feel like each time the dentist finds something wrong, it's ultimately because I'm a failure at something.  Luckily the swelling went down right away and I haven't had much pain at all. Good thing because I had defrosted some bone-in chicken breasts to make for dinner.   We roasted the chicken with garlic, onions, and oranges, and threw some kale in the the pan for good measure.  We also gave the skin a cornstarch & salt rub.  The chicken was moist, tender, perfectly done, with a bit of the orange infusing the meat.  Sadly, the rub was just a bit too salty for me, though the cornstarch did add a wonderful crispness - we're definitely doing that again. As for the oranges, they added a bitter note to the dish - not a bad one, in fact a very sophisticated one, but juts like the salt it was a bit much.  Even the kale, which I usually love this way, ended up a bit bitter.  Next time I'll keep the orange, but lose the peels.

Now I finally remember Thursday - Steve and I went (with Buttercup) to the bookstore, where I did some gardening research and picked up a couple of new gardening books.  I'm psyched about having a garden again.  I need to flex those design muscles.  Any week when I can spend time thinking about gardens is a good one, even if some of the thinking was done in a dentist's chair.

With that I'm off to bed.  No wonder I couldn't remember Thursday: I'm nodding off as I type.  Too many 6:30 wake ups will do that to a person.

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@Espresso

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