Monday, May 25, 2009

I fought the yard

...and the yard won.

There has been much evidence in the past to support the theory that I'm insane, but I always coolly brushed off such accusations with the defense that I merely vacationed at the Cliffs of Insanity. I hadn't actually purchased a condo there.

Well, today I'm here to tell you that I have no further defense. I'm offically a full-time resident at the Cliffs now -- in fact, I'm in the running for mayor. If I can just get my friend Molly the Pirate to agree to be my campaign manager, the election's in the bag. Who can say "no" to a pirate?

Back to my insanity. (Sorry, it tends to make me ramble).

As I've mentioned in recent weeks, we've been working on our yard this spring. To give a little bit of background, the people we bought the house from had purchased the property from a retired one-legged elderly lady who, according to neighbor testimony (including photographs), spent all of her time working in the yard. There is still evidence of all the energy she put into the landscaping -- beautiful curved concrete borders, loads of flowerbeds, huge delicious-smelling lilac bushes, etc. But the owners between this lady and ourselves were team long-haul truckers. Suffice it to say: they let things go a bit.

We've been slowly reclaiming the landscaping, but I wasn't able to do much last year. Maybe other moms can weed and garden with an infant in tow, but I could never figure it out. This year, Aurelia is happy to rub her hands around in the dirt (or eat the dirt, or rub her face in the dirt) while I garden right next to her. And I really, really want to make the yard pretty again. And put in a little vegetable garden.

So I spent $100 of poster competition prize money at Wal-mart (what? that isn't your nursery center of choice?) for seeds and corms and other plant terms I don't know that are supposed to turn into flowers and veggies if you put them in the ground and water them. Surely I can handle that?

Well, the good news is that I miraculously got most of the flower seeds into the ground last week. Now we have to finish the fence and paint it before the flowers get serious about growing, since most of them are vines I intend to have growing up the fence. Don't ask me how that's going to happen, because I don't have a clue. It just needs to.

Thus far, I've surprised myself by actually remembering to water the seeds and finding the time and energy to do so in the evening. This despite the fact that our hose isn't long enough and has several leaks precisely at the end by the nozzle, so I get annoyed and soaked every time I use it. But today...well, I feel like burning the gardening gloves and letting the weeds have their way with the "gardens".

WARNING: Hot steam venting ahead:

I cleaned out HALF of ONE flowerbed last week so I could plant seeds in it before I left to visit family for a long weekend. Tonight, after driving for six hours, starting laundry, a load of dishes, vacuuming, keeping up with a toddler who required my physical presence to do anything without crying... I headed outside to clean out the other half of the ONE flower bed. Then I saw some new weeds sprouting in the section I had already cleaned out, and figured I should keep up with the work I'd accomplished before working on the other half.

I couldn't even finish re-cleaning the first half of the bed. I was done. Nothing left in the tank except tears.

All I really want to know is: What kind of psychotic mushroom did I eat that made me think I could add on yardwork, when I can't even keep up with the bare necessities of housework???

On the bright side, I hear there are some nice vacation homes available in the Fire Swamp. Come by to visit anytime! Just ignore the weeds on your way to the door.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Fitness Friday: Three for one!

Why do I feel an urge to go pick up an Alexandre Dumas book?

Oh, wait! That's , "all for one", not three for one. Nevermind!

Okay, so I've been out of the Fitness Friday loop for a few weeks. But as I choose to believe, better late than never! So let's see if I can fit all three recent assignments into this one post.

First, we were supposed to share pictures of our homes, specifically areas related to fitness. Wow, that's a good joke, Brenda! If I had time to clean my house, I'd have time to post! So, moving on...(But as a consolation, above is a picture of the rec center where I exercise).

The next assignment was to talk about how we sneak in exercise when we can't fit in our usual regimen. Umm...I use the stairs instead of the elevator? That sounds lame. Maybe this wasn't a good idea after all!

Honestly, if I can't make it to the rec center during the workday, then I just don't exercise. There is no other time in my schedule for so much as a set of sit-ups. Which is why it's crucially important that I get to the gym regardless of how hard it is to arrange me experiment schedule appropriately.

Let's see if I can do better with this week's assignment: what am I up against? Beyond looks are appearance, why is it so important to me to get and stay fit?

Well, I have the typical family history of heart attacks and strokes, but not any more so than the next ten people you run into. So I won't explore that very much. And in previous posts I've already talked about the need to set a good example for my child(ren).

I guess what I have to struggle with in particular is motivation, confidence and happiness issues. Getting up and doing something physical, pursuing a measurable goal, helps me feel like I've accomplished something. If I've accomplished something, I feel better about myself. If I let my confidence wane, it's not a pretty sight for anyone in my life.

So, to put it simply, being fit makes me feel like Lara Croft -- and that helps me keep the mindset that life is an adventure and God gave me gifts to be a hero in that adventure.

What I'm "up against" is the lie -- so easy to embrace -- that life is nothing more than the dreariness of endless laundry and having too many things to do.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Wanted: One Re-set

I was thinking just this afternoon, after waking up grumpy and tired, forgetting to call my mother-in-law to let her know we were leaving the house (something I do EVERY SINGLE weekday morning), getting soaked in a nasty hailstorm that unleashed the very moment I opened the car door to transfer Aurelia to grandma's car, forgetting the library books that were due yesterday, miscommunicating with Jon about going to the gym...anyway, I was thinking I would love to have a "redo" for the day.

Then I realized that I really needed a total re-set on my attitude and perception for the past few weeks, not just today. For some reason, I feel really insecure after a major test. In this case, the Biotech Symposium and my annual Research-in-Progress seminar in front of my department. I wasn't nervous beforehand -- I was just going to do the best I could do, and I was too busy concentrating on putting my talk together to be worried. But afterward, despite very encouraging feedback from the faculty, I found that I couldn't stop second-guessing myself.

Of course, it didn't help that I came down sick almost immediately after giving my talk. It's hard to feel good about yourself when you're congested with zero energy. It's even harder when your sweet little daughter is even more ill than you are. I'm still not quite over the "spring crud", but fortunately Aurelia is pretty much back to her happy self.

Anyway, I think I need some event, or maybe some space, if you know what I mean, to separate myself from my dip into "no confidence land". A week by myself in the Bahamas should do it.

But I don't see that happening right away. Or in the next ten years.

So what can I do to re-set myself? I want to get back to happy and gracious. I'm tired of grumpy and touchy. If you've seen my road-map showing how to get from one to the other, please let me know!