Thursday, December 27, 2012

And phew.

Happy two days after Christmas everyone!

No really. That's what I heard on the radio this morning.


But I do hope you had some nice holidays. We did.

It finally started snowing for reals in Tahoe, so we've been skiing. And sitting on wind hold. And skiing some more. And then gaping at two mile long gondola lines. And then ditching gondola lines for some backcountry skiing on the ridge instead. And then snowblowing the driveway.

And repeat.

But whatever - it's finally snowing, so it's happier around this place.

And also school is over for the semester so phewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. It's happier around my Inside The Head place, too.

See, I really wanted to be past that first semester of Going Back To School. Even more than being past it, I wanted to have the grades in front of me to prove that I'd done it.

And even more than having the grades in front of me, I wanted them to be As.

Straight ones.

Because I did not turn our lives upside down for Bs, people. I just did not.

And that fact alone was stressing me out more than trying to learn 100 plants' Latin names, sections 200-602 of the National Organic Rule or how to calculate the winter heating costs for a 10,000 square foot greenhouse in Santa Cruz County.

The What Ifs were making me nutty.

What if I studied all that stuff and my grades weren't the Straight Nerdy As I wanted so bad down to my bones?

What if I quit my job, spent half a year driving up and down highway 17 to school, irretrievably muddied up my shiny red rain boots, bored Bubba half to death with talk of CCOF this and compliant compost that and then...Bs?



Blech, I tell you. That would be blech. Failure and blech.

You know how I get.

Anyway, I was starting to freak out a little bit, is what I'm saying. Toward the end of the semester, shit started to get real.

Those grades that I wanted so bad down to my bones were getting closer to being finalized by term papers, and final projects and finals and WHAT IFs were taking root in my brains.

It was a dark time for a minute there.

Thankfully it was a dark time which I responded to differently than I did during my undergrad.

Specifically, I did not get shitfaced, decide that "If I don't know it by now, I'm not going to know it." and then blissfully forget about my finals until the moment they were plopped in front of me on the last day of class.

I did not do specifically that.

I studied. OH MY GOD DID I STUDY. (Also, there was some shitfacing BUT ONLY AFTER STUDYING. That's the rule now.)

People, I've never studied so hard. Which may sound ridiculous when you know that I was studying for Horticulture and that probably seems easier to comprehend than, say, anything I took during my undergrad (except for maybe Humor Writing which wasn't so much about studying as it was about placating the wannabe comedian "professor" running the class), but I will tell you that when I want As - hard studying is the only way that it's going to happen.

I'm no genius that automatically commits all important facts to memory. The only photographic things that I own have "Canon" stamped on their fronts. In order for me to remember things - even super important things that I'm very interested in and even riveted by - I have to hear them, do them, write them, rewrite them, tell them to someone else, meditate on them, sing a song where they are the antagonist and protagonist, tattoo a memorable acronym to the backs of my hands and hire a nice yet skeptical man to write them in the sky behind a biplane every day for a week.

This is the only way that my brain will finally give up and accept new information.

So I did almost all of those things in preparation for my finals and then...

So, phew.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Hurricane Moishe touches down briefly in Miami.

A while back I did a holiday rant about ugly menorahs.

I'll sum it up for you real quick - eight nights of ugly menorahs were featured and they were, indeed, all ugly. Some were offensive, but all were ugly and most were tragically so.

I really thought that I had been thorough in my search for ugly menorahs, too. I thought my collection was comprehensive. My small mind couldn't comprehend of there being uglier menorahs than those whose photos I'd collected for that exercise of mine.


Happy Hanukkah, Jews of Miami. Please enjoy your oppressively large shellfish encrusted menorah and dreidel.

It's OK to sit there with your eyebrows raised or perhaps a look of complete dumbfoundedness on your face. That's what I looked like when my friends sent me this photo from their recent trip to Florida.

I didn't know what to say. I didn't know how to feel. All I knew was that I was going straight to this blog to let you guys decide what's really going on here.

So, you tell me - which is it:

  1. Historically, Jews of Miami have destroyed the city's annual Hanukkah displays while acting under the assumption that all Hanukkah decor is simply a foil wrapper around a festively shaped chocolate and that they are simply a foil unwrapping away from a Volkswagen-sized chocolate bar shaped like a dreidel.

    "Well, maybe those maniacs won't try to eat it if it's made of shellfish. This year will be different!" -Miami's holiday decorating committee

    And so it was.


  2. This is Shellfish's way of thanking the Jews for leaving their kind off of menus throughout history.

    Shellfish to Jews: "You guys are cool."

  3. This is Shellfish's way of laying down the gauntlet.

    "WHAT? You're too good for shellfish? You think you're the big man, all over there not enjoying a Bloody Caesar even after your Eighth Night of Hanukkah Manischewitz hangover? WHO'S THE BIG MAN NOW?"

    Because, maybe shellfish has an inferiority complex and is capable of threatening an entire religious population by rising up in the form of that religion's holiday decor.

  4. The Little Mermaid is Jewish and wanted to reconnect with her people during the festival of lights, but couldn't keep the candles lit in her underwater castle or whatever shit they have going on in that cartoon.

  5. There was a Hurricane Moishe that was highly localized and swooped in on Hanukkah Eve, hired some nice men whose mothers they know from Schul to construct these decorations while they supervised, scratched their beards, yelled "Just a little to the left. No, no...just a little to the right." before finally declaring it "Not too shabby" and shuffling off to rinse out a few things and get a nosh at a little place that has the best lox in all of Miami - they cut it right from the center of the fish! You won't believe it!

So - you decide. Is the cause of this Hanukkah-trocity any of the above or some other ill-conceived notion I haven't thought of?

Meanwhile, lest you think that all crimes against jewmanity only affect structures erected in town centers, allow me to share another of my friends' photos showcasing some items from a nearby CVS.

Complete with misspellings and antennae. Because that's festive.

My mind is boggling.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

It's all fun and games until I get a tick.

Yeah, so when I got all "Hey, I'm going to quit my corporate life and go be a farmer!" I really didn't consider The Tick Factor.

Or the "Planting Strawberries in the Rain" factor.

Or the "Taking Midterms and Finals and Writing Term Papers" factor.

Or the "Those Shiny Red Boots Aren't Going To Be Too Shiny or Red Anymore" factor.

Or the "Do One Hundred Somethings Every Day That Scare The Ever-loving Crap Out of You" factor.

I just realized I could go on and on and on and on with this list, so I'll just stop here and sum it up by saying that, while I totally love this whole thing of school and farmy work and small business starting up and such, there were a lot of things that weren't readily apparent until they were, like, right there.

And then when these manyMANY things have become, like, right there, I have been trying ever so hard to just roll with it and not let my former corporate-y self freak out like a big fat puss.

So, last night rather than get all "OHMYGOD THERE'S A MUTHER EFFING TICK BURROWING INTO MY BELLY" and then run screaming to the kitchen to (very carefully) prise it from my belly flesh and then ritualistically pop it in half while giving it a very stern talking to about just who does it think it is stealing my blood and making a giant mark on my belly flesh before treating it to a trip down the garbage disposal which was run for a solid 30 minutes BECAUSE EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWWWWW A TICK I...well, that's exactly what I did.

Also, I still have a belly ring? What am I - 17?

Because sometimes when you're trying all hard not to be a puss and prove to the world (and yourself - most importantly yourself) that this was a good idea and you're not going to puss out in the real world of farming and outdoorsiness, you hit The Tick Threshold.

People - I hate mother fucking ticks.

I have no beef with snakes. Or spiders. Or bats. Or bees. Or most bugs (unless they are the jumpy kind because THEY COULD JUST JUMP RIGHT ON YOUR FACE GAH). Or animals with big teeth. Or creatures with small pointy teeth.

But I do not like ticks. At all. I have absolutely no use for them and good god do they freak me out. Same goes for leeches or any creature that makes its living sucking the blood from my belly, for instance.

If they sucked fat, I'd be all for them, but no - they just go for the blood and leave my ample flesh alone, save for a big black mark of the beast.

The beast that is the tick.

Ugh. I'm just the grossest right now.

BUT - I'm also studying for my last final. My final final, if you will. Having completed two finals already this week, plus three final projects, many millions of hours of lectures (I'm sure it was at least a million), days of farm work and, you know, starting up that new business of mine in my, like, spare time or whatever.

So - while I'd love to be realizing about myself that I'm impermeable to all things that nature holds and be completely unfazed by something as small and insignificant and TOTALLY FUCKING GROSS as a tick, I'm not.

And, well, I'm deciding that that's OK. I can be a farmer and not like ticks. I'm sure there are farmers out there who REALLY don't like ticks, too. I mean, just because you grow vegetables and such doesn't mean that you're suddenly One with all creatures big and small, right? Or at least to the point where you get all, "Hey! Climb on to my body, blood-sucking insects, and take all you need! I'm just a walking 7-Eleven for you." or whatever.

I'm sure it's not like that.

So, yeah - if you're looking for me on the farm, I'll be the one in the not-shiny mud-covered red rubber boots, a big ole smile, sitting aboard the tractor NOT covered in ticks.

That'll do fine.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Secret special ass-saving present to myself

You guys know how I get around the holidays by now.

The word you're looking for is perhaps, "CRAZY AS A SHITHOUSE RAT".  Which is five or six words depending on how you construct 'shithouse' but you all know better than to mess with me this time of year so I appreciate you letting this one slide.
I start out all maniacal when I see decorations going up in October before Halloween has even wrought havoc on our lives, I then try to ignore it all for a few weeks meanwhile begrudgingly ordering my holiday cards, doing all my shopping and pretending to myself that this is the first year in the history of mankind that I'm going to be truly 100% done with all my holiday nonsense by the first week of December, then the first week of December comes and I'm decidedly not done with all my holiday nonsense yet and HEY when did all this other stuff crop up that I have to deal with and oh yeah don't we need to get something for the garbage man and oh right I gotta bake for the neighbor gifts and do we really need a calendar made up of our year's worth of photos where Bubba licks my face while I try to get one good shot of us doing something in nature and then suddenly FUCK IT ALL I'm behind on the holiday nonsense I was trying to ignore.

This is also when I wonder WHY I always decide that I'm going to MAKE all the gifts.

Then things get kicked to the curb so that I can piece back together the shreds of my sanity before someone gets hurt.

Not pictured: The many hundreds of things that were kicked to the curb.

Someone like *everyone*.

Last year, it would appear that one of the *somethings* was the handmade napkins for my sister and cousin.

See, every year my sister, cousin and I exchange kitchen towels. Why? I have no idea aside from the fact that our moms used to do it and then they thought that it'd be a good idea for us grown-up-out-in-the-world girls to do it, too. So we do it. Because apparently sometimes I do do as I'm told.


But then a few years ago we decided that we all didn't need any more towels so we decided to exchange napkins instead.

Perhaps the *doing as we're told* was grating on us? Who knows.

And then last year I apparently thought that going and buying napkins wasn't good enough - that I needed to make these napkins.

Because OF COURSE LET'S MAKE EVERYTHING. It's not time consuming AT ALL.

So apparently I went out and bought fabric specifically for both my sister and cousin and then came home and cut out all the fabric for the napkins and then apparently the phenomenon known as WHERE DID THIS DAMN MONTH GO I CAN'T DO IT ALL I'M JUST BUYING THESE DAMN NAPKINS BECAUSE WHO HAS THIS KIND OF TIME happened and the cut fabric was stowed away never to be heard from again.

Until yesterday.

You know, yesterday when I was going to do ALL of my holiday making in one sitting because that makes total sense.

When last year's holiday mania and resulting Kicking Of Shit To The Curb turned into this year's secret special ass saving present to myself.

My ass has now been saved by pre-cut fabric. Hallelujah.

Because yesterday, as I was frantically trying to label, package, wrap, bake, customize, tag and organize this year's gifts and then realized, at the tail end of the day's franticness that I'd forgotten this napkin exchange situation, I went into my fabric stash in the closet to see if I might have *something* that I could use to make napkins for this exchange and LO AND FUCKING BEHOLD there was some fabric that would be perfect for my sister.

And - hey - that other fabric would totally match my cousin's kitchen OHWAITJUSTONESECOND these pieces of fabric are already cut out and yes this was the project that I ditched last year LET'S MAKE SOME FUCKING NAPKINS ALREADY.


And yay! Yay I already cut out this fabric and it's already ready to have its seams pressed and run through the sewing machine and I AM 30 MINUTES FROM FINISHING THIS PROJECT I STARTED A YEAR AGO.

Oh again.

Yeah - apparently the moment when I became *over* the holidays last year happened as I was beginning to sew these napkins because I found that one of the pieces of fabric had its seams 3/4 pressed. And then nothing.

There appears to have been a moment, as I was preparing to press the fourth side of the fabric, that I threw up my  hands in the NO MORE gesture and decided I was done *doing* the holidays.

So I guess I just threw the cut fabric back in the stash, dashed off to some store (likely The Internet Store) to order some already-made-not-by-me napkins and called it a day on the whole holiday nonsense.

And I'm so glad I did because that made yesterday's I MUST GET THIS ALL DONE decree that much easier to uphold.

Done and DONE.

I mean, I didn't get every single holiday thing done, but I did get a lot of it done and that fabric, which has been taking up precious space in the craft closet for over a year, is now two sets of napkins packed into two gifts and YAY I don't have to think about that anymore.

Yay for me and for the one year that it takes me to sew eight napkins.

Imagine if I'd tried to sew something involving more than one contiguous seam? THE HORROR.

Monday, December 03, 2012

I did not fuck it up.

You know when you have a bunch of things coming up and you have to think about them all the time and do a bunch of stuff for them but it gets to a point where you've done everything you can do and all you have left to do is wait?


So, yeah - that.

That was what was plaguing me last week when I wrote that thing about punching people in the throat when they have the temerity to say things like, "Do something every day that scares you." and what not.

I wasn't so much overwhelmed with the Scared as I was with the Waiting.

I really just wanted to get that event DONE but there was nothing left to do but wait.

So, wait I did. I waited and I stressed and I created redundant To Do lists and then rewrote my To Do lists and then prepped and rehearsed and overdid my stressing out until Bubba took me by the shoulders, looked deep into my eyes and was all, "Don't fuck it up."

And hoooooooooooooo boy howdy - did I laugh!

See, much like the good old, "Come on, peckerhead" encouragement I've shared with you all in the past, a seriously and meaningfully posed "Don't fuck it up." is just as effective at breaking the spell of whatever is plaguing my addled mind.

It gets me to laugh. It gets me to loosen the hell up. It gets me out of my head which becomes this scary place where all I can imagine are the one hundred ways I'm going to completely and irretrievably shame myself in whatever situation I'm moving ever so slowly toward.

In this case I was projecting myself to a winery tasting room filled with holiday shoppers staring wide-eyed at me and my first ever assembled booth for my first ever business, judging harshly as it all collapsed in a catastrophic display of ultimate failure - PayPal card reader dongle not working, micro gardens crashing to the floor, MacBook erroring out left and right, phone battery croaking, jars of pickles and jams hitting concrete in a sticky vinegary heap, Duchess being towed out of metered parking, boobs falling out of my shirt, jeans suddenly ripping in half, boots skidding uncontrollably across the slippery floor - you name it, I'd imagined it happening.

And sweating. Don't forget the endless, shirt soaking, small child drowning sweating I'd totally be doing because that was, in my mind, going to be shameful to say the least.

And then none of these things happened.

Nope. Nothing crashed to the ground. Nothing errored out (OK, PayPal Here didn't work 100%, but I managed just fine). Nothing ran out of a charge. Nothing was towed, popped out of a shirt, ripped free of any pants, skid across a floor to its demise or failed in any tangible way. And no one outwardly judged me - at least not that I could absorb through all the commotion of "Ooh! Can you teach me how to grow vegetables?" that was going on.

Instead - people were way cool. My booth looked good. I sold things. I met people. Friends came to say hi. I drank wine (bonus of doing an event at a winery). I tasted other vendors' food. I parked right out in front of the venue at a meter that I could reload via my cell phone.  I talked about organic gardening for five hours.

I daresay that it went...well.

Yes, let's say that. Let's say that it went well and I'm also really pretty happy that my "scary thing of the day" for last Saturday didn't kill me.

Because, while I've had it with "Do something every day that scares you.", I definitely embrace the concept of "What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger."

Even if "stronger" only means that I am now confident that I can lift a five gallon bucket full of sand without re-injuring my previously dislocated shoulder while drinking a glass of wine with the other hand.

Yeah - I think debuting my business at an event that encourages drinking by the vendors was an excellent, albeit unplanned, move.

Either way - I did not fuck it up, so yay for that.

And now I hope to also not fuck up the first finals I've taken in 12 years or the term projects that precede those finals. This week.