Happy Earth Day!

I don’t really have anything all that special planned for Earth Day.  I’m a tree-hugging hippie every day.  Zach picked up a pepper plant at his work today because they are giving them out for Earth Day.  So we will be planting it tonight when he gets home!  Yay peppers!

Right now I’m sitting outside writing and drinking water on the rocks.  It’s a nice day.  We put up a bird feeder a while ago, and it’s been so wonderful seeing all the birds.  I really like birds.  However, word got around in the bird community and so we have a TON of birds coming to one little feeder.  Finches of all kinds, sparrows, chickadees, blue jays, doves, and even woodpeckers.  We even have a mouse and a couple squirrels that eat what the birds throw on the ground.  I feel like Snow White.  Right now, there is a blue jay barking at me.  It sounds kind of like a squeaky car.  You know why it’s barking at me?  BECAUSE THE FEEDER IS EMPTY.  That’s right.  We have to fill that thing every other day to keep stuff in it!  It’s lunch time in bird land, and their favorite diner is out of stock.  I wonder if Snow White had a similar problem.

I’m not really complaining.  I like all the birds around.  They are really cute.  And they are safer at our house than they are next door with the murderous cats.  My relationship with the birds will become more complicated after our berry plants become fruitful, but we already have some ideas in place.

I’m feeling a lot better though, but I don’t have a ton of energy.  Also, my online classes started this week… so I suppose I need to get to some classwork.

Until next time.

 

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Pop Culture, How I Love Thee

I’ve been sick the past several days.  I think I came down with a weird stomach bug that totally kicked my arse and I’m still recovering.  While I’m no longer “sick,” I’m still having issues eating and you know, having energy to move around.

I really hate being sick.  The only upside is that I get to catch up with many hours of Netflix, but to be honest, I could just take time off and do the same thing.  It’s just harder to convince Zach to lay around with me and be lazy.  The downside is massive – my dogs don’t get walked, so they are horrible monsters, and the house becomes something that resembles a post-apocalyptic state, with considerably more dog hair.  Being sick is also highly inconvenient right now, since, you know, we have a massive home improvement project going on at the moment.

Last night was pretty good though, and I actually had enough energy to interact with the world.  So naturally, we watched The Voice.  I would say it’s my guilty pleasure, but I don’t feel that guilty about it.  What I DO feel guilty about though, is probably how many times I’ve cried during the show.  It’s weird, I cry easily, but only at some things.  But crying at Joshua Davis’s soothing voice is NOTHING to be ashamed of!  I think The Voice is to me, what The Bachelor is to a lot of people.  I don’t understand/like dating, so I don’t get that show.  But watching The Voice is like going to an awesome karaoke show with celebrities and not as much booze, so the talent is much better.  I’m kidding, a little.  I genuinely think most of the talent on the show are actually talented, and I love listening to people sing, so it’s the best thing ever for me.

However, Zach makes fun of me at least once during the show (aside from crying) because I tend to never know the songs they are singing, if it’s from an artist in the last 10 years.  He calls me an old lady.  And yes, while it’s true that I don’t listen to the radio and therefore have “lost touch,” I’m still pretty in tune with things if it’s on the internet/has a viral video.  Seriously, the ONLY reason I even know who Sia is, is because of that Jim Carrey skit on SNL and I looked it up because I had no idea what was going on.  Actually, if it wasn’t for SNL, I’d probably be totes out of touch.  FYI, I did enjoy “Chandelier” and watched it several times.

In all honesty, I actually love pop culture.  I feel like I’m equally aware of world news in the same way that I am with pop culture.  I’m getting a little behind on texting shorthand, but that was never my forte anyway.

And while I actually have no opinion whatsoever on any of the Kardashians, I really get a kick out of how people view them.  It’s weird, I KNOW there are people out there that like them, but I haven’t met any of them (at least, anyone that’ll admit to it).  And yesterday, I was on my phone and Zach asked me what I was doing, and I replied, “Oh, I’m following Miley Cyrus on Instagram because she has really fucked up photoshop pictures with pot everywhere.”  (I also follow a weiner dog collage artist, so, these are my “interests”).

I’m not just into current pop culture though.  I really like the whole timeline of pop culture.  I find it interesting.  And what’s even more interesting, I think it’s hilarious when people say, “oh things were SO much better back in my day!”  No they weren’t.  I don’t even need to know what decade you’re talking about.  Every decade was steeped in crappy music, crappy movies, and crappy people.  We just have happy memories of the few good things from those times.  And this is coming from someone that buys new (and old) albums on vinyl and wishes people shot movies on film instead of digital.  And let’s be honest, there are fun things in the pop culture of every decade.  That’s why they made it into pop culture.  They were interesting.

Anyway, I’m going to continue my recovery process.  There’s a garden riding on me getting well.  I really want to do a film review this Friday, I have a movie in mind, so hopefully I can make that happen.

Until next time.

“Leave me alone, I’m reading”

I’m so irritated today, so irritated, that I’m pretty sure I have a psychotic smile on my face.  That’s how bad it is.  Laughably bad.  Irritated by things that don’t matter, and some that do.

But one of the things that kind of just pushed me over the edge happened at the dentist today.

At first, I was happy because I had a new hygienist, and it was nice because she didn’t lecture me on the importance of having children (which, by the way, Zach doesn’t get this lecture) and how being a mom is the bestest thing ever, unless you have a daughter, and it becomes awful because she will turn into a mouthy little slut.  I kind of wish I was exaggerating, but I’m not.  The last hygienist I had complained about her daughter being sinful with her boyfriend, and maybe being around too many gay people THE ENTIRE TIME.  She took like 45 minutes cleaning my teeth because she spent so much time freaking out about this.  And while sometimes I might dress like an elderly woman, and while my music tastes reflect that of someone in their 90s, I don’t give any shits about teenagers doing teenager-y things.  If it’s not on my lawn, I don’t care.  And as a personal philosophy, I am judging a parent SO HARD if they put moral judgments and conditional love on their kids.  SO HARD ARE MY JUDGMENTS.

So the new lady was awesome and talked about her dogs the whole time and how much fun it is to sleep.  My kind of person.

But after my appointment I had to wait for Zach to finish his.  So I brought The Sound and the Fury to read while I waited.  It was fine until this guy, middle-aged, came in and said,

“Wow, The Sound and the Fury.  Classic.”

I nodded politely and went back to reading.

Like the asshole he ended up being, he went on,

“Are you reading that for school, or for pleasure?”

“Pleasure.”  I continued reading.

I know I’m spoiling things, but like the biggest asshole ever, he continued,

“Wow, I don’t ever see girls like you and your age reading books like that.  All girls your age just have their faces in their phones.  I see all the girls at high school wandering around staring at their phones all day.  That’s all they do.”

Looking at him appalled, and also wondering how old he thinks I am.  He continues:

“I don’t want you to get offended by this, but this is true:  This is better than an IUD (pulls out phone).  Honestly!  Girls would rather be on their phones than have sex.  Pretty soon, the Pope will be recommending them.  Don’t you agree?”

At this point, I’m beyond anywhere near my comfort zone, in fact I’ve lost all semblance of any grounding.  I continued to read and tried my best to ignore him.

I’m honestly not blowing this out of proportion.  In fact, I left out all the creepy body language, and most of what he said, because it mostly was just offensive and implied I was a teenage girl.  I’m pushing 30!

When Zach was finally done, I told him the exchange, and he was appalled, but also surprised I didn’t blow up at the guy.  I asked, “What was I supposed to do?  Tell him he’s being a sexist asshole and to stop talking to me?  Because then I’d be ‘making a scene’ in the office and people would think it was me being rude.”

It wasn’t like the guy was blatantly trying to be awful.  And I guarantee every girl has a story like this one.  I have a million more.  Some guy will seemingly be friendly, and totally be a creep in an underhanded way, and there’s nothing you can do.  This happened ALL THE TIME when I was a teenager, but I never understood why I was uncomfortable.

Unfortunately, when people treat me like this, I still don’t know what to do.  “Family” members do this.  The last family wedding I went to, this happened.  But what am I supposed to do?  Everyone writes off my complaints as, “that’s just the way he is/he doesn’t mean anything by it.”

Well you know what?  It’s unacceptable.  I should haven’t to worry about a creepy uncle coming at me with disgusting and inappropriate comments about my mind or body, just because he’s been a creepy asshole forever.  You know why he’s a creepy asshole?  No one told him to stop.  And everyone told anyone who complained that it was fine that he was like that.

If this was an isolated event, I’d be pissed, but I would ultimately brush it off.  But this isn’t isolated.  I’ve had to put up with this shit my whole life.  And today was so blatant and obvious that it kind of hurt my feelings a little bit.  That’s it.  It hurt my feelings.  It hurt for someone to imply that because I was young (apparently I have a calling in undercover work at high schools) and pretty, that it was a miracle I was reading a “real” book.  It hurt my feelings that he was talking about women’s bodies like something that needed to be controlled, like sex is something bad, it’s the teenage girl’s “fault” for getting pregnant, and luckily girls are so dumb and shallow they won’t have sex.  It hurts.  And for some reason, there’s definitely a weird psychological thing that happens when an older person talks down to me, like I don’t have the right to stand up for myself.

So when someone is so hurtful, even though he’s smiling and laughing like it’s all lighthearted, like it’s no big deal, it’s hard to find that voice inside myself to say, “Stop.  You’re an awful human being.  Leave my sight immediately.”

Because this is normal.  This is so so normal.  But it’s not right!

I mean, eventually, I WILL become an elderly woman, and I won’t have a problem saying what’s on my mind, because elderly people are awesome like that.  Until then, I guess I need to work up the courage to politely tell people off.  I’m sure there’s a WikiHow tutorial, if not, I will dedicate years of research and figure out how to do it.

So FYI, after a quick search, my favorite thing was on reddit and my favorite response was: “I ask you to slowly and carefully go fuck yourself.”

That may be not helpful, but it gave me a chuckle.  And that will definitely be my response when I’m old, and knitting.

Until next time.

Fitness Review: Ballet Beautiful and 10 Minute Pilates

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I thought today might be a good day to do another fitness DVD review.  Like I’ve mentioned before, I haven’t had a ton of time to devote to longer workouts, nor would I want to anyway.  Yard work is tiring and exercise in itself.

That being said, I still think it’s important to make sure I do things for my core, do dedicated stretching sessions, and more “mellow” workouts, because they can be relaxing, and prevent injury.  For the past couple of months, I’ve been alternating between Ballet Beautiful Total Body Workout and 10 Minute Solution Pilates Perfect Body.

Let’s start with Pilates first.

I like this DVD because it’s really good for small spaces, and each 10 minute session concentrates on one particular section of the body.  It’s not super hard, but still effective.  It’s my go-to for short workouts that don’t make me sweat or too sore.  However, I imagine if you did all of the workouts together, it’d be tougher.  I love this workout because anytime my back isn’t doing well, I can still do everything on this DVD, and in fact, it generally speeds up my recovery.  There are plenty of modifications to do to cater to injuries or fitness level, but I would definitely recommend this to beginners or intermediate levels.

Now for the ballet DVD!

I originally got this DVD to break up my routine, and because I love dance-type workouts.  It’s one of my favorites now.  It’s hard to describe the “difficulty” level of this workout though.  It’s broken up into several different workouts, some only a few minutes, some a little longer.  You can also go through all of them at once for a comprehensive hour-long workout.  Personally, while some of the routines are fairly easy, I think most are tough.  Especially if your form is good and you push it, it’s hard.  I don’t think this DVD is easy, but I think it’s great for beginners.  The super chill classical piano that plays in the background is a welcome change from the crappy, and slightly annoying techno/pop fitness music that generally accompanies most workout DVDs.  I will add though, don’t be intimidated by Mary Helen’s awesomely insane flexibility, just do your best, maybe do some extra stretching so you can get closer to some of the stretches she does.  My personal fitness goals involve more being strong and super flexible, rather than lose weight.  Although feeling as light as a ballerina is something I can hope for.

I doubt I’ll get deeper into the Pilates realm, but I’ve definitely been inspired with ballet.  This DVD perked my interest into more instructional-type DVDs, and perhaps, one day, will lead to some classes for fun.

I think that is all for now.  The rest of my summer will involve the Bolder Boulder and 5ks, so I might update with that stuff.  Summer is a time for wogging (walk/jogging).

Until next time.

Dirt! The Project

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You know how when you clean a room, I mean, really clean it, organize it, etc, and it seems to get worse before it can get better?  Doing a big yard project is like that, but worse, because there’s dirt everywhere.

And so continues our outdoor projects.  I was a little disappointed on Saturday because Zach and his dad spent most of the day doing this:

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Stump removal.  It looks like a bomb went off in the corner of our yard right now.  And it took a lot longer than we all expected, and it was a lot harder than expected.  But, at least it got removed, mostly.  Zach was happy his dad was there to help, and I was happy I didn’t have to be there with the noisy chainsaw.  Apparently, the dogs didn’t mind though.  The Wii terrifies Penny, but not a chainsaw, so I have no idea what goes on in her head.

So by the time they finished that, there wasn’t a whole lot of time to work on moving the garden dirt.  Plus, Sunday, we were going to have to bathe the dogs and take them to get their nails clipped, so I was a little stressed, initially, that we weren’t able to do more.

To top it off, we woke up Sunday to a super windy day.  Moving dirt in the wind is not fun.  Not only that, but all the cardboard I had laid the evening before had blown all over the place.  And trying to lay newspaper down in high winds, even when you wet it, is one of the most irritating things ever.

All that said, Sunday was amazing.  Our awesome friends showed up to help move dirt, and that made all the difference.  We got more done than I had even planned!

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We were able to even cover most of the area we are using for a front flower garden.  Totally unexpected, but very welcomed.  My only regret is that I didn’t take a picture of the dirt, but we were so busy, I barely had my phone on me all day, so I forgot to take any pictures.  Most of these were taken by Zach.

We are almost ready to plant.  We are building removeable panels this week so we have something to keep the dogs and rabbits out of the garden, but are easy for me to remove when I tend to the garden.  I guess a lot of people will get short chicken wire and then bend over it to weed and harvest, but my back is way too bad/I’m too short for that.  We need something nicer and easier.

I already planted wheatgrass in a planter box because I was impatient, and it’s coming in already.  I need extra green for my smoothies!

Until next time.

Monster Raised Beds

IMG_5048We’re getting started!  This was our first day of major yard work/yard construction.  It was a ton of work, mainly because Zach is a bit of a perfectionist, but also because we built a huge garden bed with huge 6X6 lumber pieces.  We wanted a bed that would last, not bow out eventually from the weight of soil, and we used cedar because it’s safe for the food, and won’t rot nearly as fast as other woods (which are generally treated with cedar to prolong their lives).  Surprisingly, it wasn’t much more expensive than building a nice regular raised bed, because we called around to lumber yards and found one with great deals on shorter, 4 foot-long pieces.

The only things we have left to do with this particular bed is to build up a stone retaining wall around it, to keep the dirt from falling, to fill it with garden soil (and prep it for that), and to create a mulch path around the bed so we don’t have grass around it, and so it’s nice to walk around.  We will put in the irrigation system in May, along with a new sprinkler system in the backyard.

Anyway!  I’ll just post pictures and let them mostly speak for themselves.

My dad drilling holes for the rebar.  We used the rebar on the bottom level of the lumber to secure it to the ground.
My dad drilling holes for the rebar. We used the rebar on the bottom level of the lumber to secure it to the ground.
It took quite a while to level out the ground.  That was actually the most work.  Shoveling and tampering for hours...
It took quite a while to level out the ground. That was actually the most work. Shoveling and tampering for hours…
Zach and Layla finally agreed to the outline and dimensions.
Zach and Layla finally agreed to the outline and dimensions.
Zach putting in the rebar.
Zach putting in the rebar.
I was terrified that my dad's duct-taped axe was going to kill someone as we used it as a hammer...
I was terrified that my dad’s duct-taped axe was going to kill someone as we used it as a hammer…
The dogs used the wheelbarrows as shade, even though we have a covered deck and plenty of shade elsewhere.  They were committed to the project.
The dogs used the wheelbarrows as shade, even though we have a covered deck and plenty of shade elsewhere. They were committed to the project.
The "semi-final" product.  It was a long day, but it looks beautiful, and makes me want to create a garden labyrinth.
The “semi-final” product. It was a long day, but it looks beautiful, and makes me want to create a garden labyrinth.
We are mostly doing seeds, but we did get this strawberry plant for the back part of the garden.
We are mostly doing seeds, but we did get this strawberry plant for the back part of the garden.

There is still quite a lot to do, and I’ll try my best to document everything, at least via pictures.  Thank you for taking this journey with me!

Until next time.

 

 

“No Soliciting”

I seriously need to get a “no soliciting” sign for my house.  Although, to be honest, I doubt it’ll help.  Yesterday, about half a dozen Jehovah’s Witnesses FANNED OUT on my street distributing flyers and knocking on everyone’s door.  It looked like the scene in Lord of the Rings where the wraiths go after Frodo at the top of the watchtower.  I have never seen anything like it.  And as someone who has slight paranoia about most things, it kind of terrified me and I hid and let the dogs bark.

Not only that, but as I left my house, a man cornered me as I was getting into my truck to try and collect names for something that I couldn’t quite understand what for (a lot of fast double talking and ambiguous language is a red flag for me).  So yeah, unless I had a “no soliciting” sign on my truck, I was screwed there too.  And in the case of this last guy, it was highly suspicious and more than likely a scam of some sort.  Luckily, somehow my hair got frazzled before I went outside, and I had angry, crazy eyes on, so he took my “no” to heart.

Okay, enough of that.  How’s the backyard coming?

We’re taking a break for a couple days because the weather is yucky.  We’ve been moving dirt from one side of the yard to the other, to level out an area for the garden beds.  The dirt is from a former playground area from a previous owner.  It was covered with mulch, which we managed to dispose of last year.  Now, we’re dealing with the dirt.  We’re almost halfway through, so we will definitely get everything done in that area by the end of this weekend.

The former playground.
The former playground.

For those that might be worried about weeds or grass that grew in this area and us reusing it, don’t worry.  The dirt will be covered so it’ll all die, it won’t be used as the actual garden dirt.

The future garden site.  Penny is checking for quality control.
The future garden site. Penny is checking for quality control.

It looks like an even bigger mess right now, but after all this crappy work is done, it’ll change a lot faster and more dramatically.  Basically, after the tilling project.  Tilling will feel like a breeze after spending a month moving dirt and rock all over the place.

Until next time.