Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A lifetime in lists

Here's a list, because if I wrote this in paragraphs it would take a week, for sure. Since the last time I posted, which was in September 2009, an update or 20, in no order whatsoever:

1. I got a job at the newspaper I used to work for. First it started out as a web job and it started at 6:30 a.m. That did not last longer than about five months. Now I'm back on the copy desk -- blessed true home! -- and working the second shift. I am very happy. I adore proofreading and copy editing and I like it now more than I did the first time around (2001-03) because I'm older and have more confidence in everything. I got that job in November 2009. That right there explains the lack of posting since then.

2. Before that, though, I had surgery that wasn't very successful. That was in October 2009 -- another good reason I didn't write here. I spent a lot of time in the hospital and a lot of time recovering. It's worth mentioning that a month to the day after I had that ill-fated surgery, I got my newspaper job.

3. Just now (March-April 2011) I spent in the hospital with more surgery, this one more successful but also more necessary, to get rid of infections/fistulas that were eating my guts and making me sick for the past six months. I've been off work for eight weeks and I go back in three or four days. There are still complications, but I'm trying to just, you know. Work through it, literally and figuratively.

4. I've been skiing a bunch of times.

5. I went to South Carolina to see my in-laws last weekend. All of them. Thirty or 40 in-laws. It was great fun and I got a sunburn and I laid on the beach and read the perfect book, which see below.

6. There have really honestly been more vacations than I can count. I'm lucky that way.

7. Charley is still the light of our lives.

8. Were you looking for something maybe about a garden? After winter '09 I let it go, and then last summer I grew just a tomato plant and a bunch of oregano. This year, the tomatoes are not in evidence but my friend CJ came over a few months ago and helped me put in a veggie garden all in one day. It's a tiny, tiny garden, mostly full of onions. That's because we spilled the packet of onion seeds in there. It's all good, I cook with onions constantly and I will freeze any that don't get et. So far haven't harvested any, but I'm letting them get bigger. I've been snipping the onion tops for garnish.

WE HAVE POTATOES. I am so happy about this I could yell it -- wait, I did. Po-ta-toes in pots in the shade under the giant redwood tree. They are thriving, or at least that's what I deduce from the tops.

Something is eating the herbs we put in. They are almost all a no-go. The exception is chives.

Something's eating the salad greens.

The lime tree seems to be happy in its corner of the raised bed, and the zucchini the same. Only two zukes this year! And both in cages. I do learn. So even though I'm working (except lately), I've been getting the garden stuff at least done in a minimal way. The initial outlay of planning and planting is what scared me and CJ walked me through that and now I know it doesn't have to be Perfect. Nothing does. And even though I was away from the house for three weeks, it rained, and when I came back things had grown. It was pretty awesome.

9. I mentioned a book. Little House-related, of course. It's "The Wilder Life" by Wendy McClure. What I can say about that is that I enjoyed the hell out of it, and it made me think and rethink my relationship with the books and what was reality for me -- are the books the reality or is Laura's actual life the reality? (For instance, she was only 3 years old in Kansas, not 7. So the series' seminal book is actually not remembered history; it's something else.) Wendy McClure is just as obsessed with the domestic details as I am. She churned butter in a non-Dazey churn! I have a Dazey and still never churned with it. She's visited all the sites except Rose's house here in San Francisco. I've been to three including Rose's house. She wonders in writing what it is that she's trying to sort out in her own life that makes her so obsessed with the books, and the answer wound up being, I think, a sort of idyllic simplicity ... but I think there was also more. I need to reread the last few chapters.

This book made me happy.

(After I read "The Wilder Life," I read "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy on the plane ride home from South Carolina, and busted through it in about five hours. Wishing all the time for another McClure book.)

10. There's something I forgot to say about the backyard, where my veggie garden is. In summer 2010 we had it renovated. I hope to go back and put photos and links to all these descriptions, but if you're reading this maybe you already saw it all.

So that's it, except for all the bits I am probably forgetting. I wonder how many simplicity blogs still have me on their blogroll, probably none. And it hasn't been simple. My life has been full of buying things, meals, not cooking from scratch (although on the weekends I do), new clothes for work, public transit, buying a second car, and on and on. It has been anything but simple.

Right now I'm just trying to institute some self-discipline for the next chapter at work. There are things I desperately need to figure out as far as managing my time and life, let alone my ideals. I feel like I've been saying this since 1999.