I spent the last week going over the edited manuscript for the new book. It might be the part of the process of writing that I enjoy the most. It dovetails nicely with my “fix-it” brain. See a problem, evalaute a problem, fix a problem. It’s a lot easier than the actual writing. Very few writers like that actual writing. They like having written.
But this fix-it mentality is a double-edged sword. Writing, or parenting, or life in general comes with expectations. Trouble can start when the expectations don’t match up with reality.
That stress between how we thought something would go and how it actual plays out can either make us or break us.
There is certainly possibility in that friction especially when you are trying to be creative but if you are parenting hanging on to those expectations will often lead to frustration.
I am trying very hard these days not to be quite so inflexible about those visions in my head and rather to pay attention to what’s in front of me and the possibilities of what I can do with it.
We went to see Elf with friends (Happy Birthday, Ty!) at a rented movie theater this week. It was a great time and spoiled ever going to a theater with strangers again. It also meant that Ally had plenty of sugar after 7 p.m. Her appetite for candy and desserts has been well documented here. She was a hyper Christmas pixie by the time we made it home. Her contagious silliness infected her sister. It was time for bed but they only had mischief on their minds. Giggling, fighting, laughing. Thank god the glitter was out of reach.
It was late. I was ready to pack it in. This was definitely not time for a rumpus. I was teetering on the verge of shutting it down by parental decree (i.e., yelling) and yet…a question popped into my mind instead: who has it better?
Nobody. Nobody has it as good as your own family. It’s a mad, mad world out there right now. Hang on tight to those dear to you. Lean into that craziness. Try to enjoy it. Continue Reading
When we moved three years ago, one of the most under-appreciated aspects of our new neighborhood, for me, was the trail access to a local reservation right at the end of our street. Suddenly, I had no excuse not to try trail running. Except for the mud and snow.
Once winter came, I did what I always did and headed down into the basement for a season for running on the treadmill. I actually really don’t mind the treadmill, but it can become monotonous month after month.
It would have been nice to escape onto those trails again, but I was always worried about slipping or pulling something with little traction in the ice or mud. Continue Reading
Real runners don’t use treadmills. Or something like that. There is a bias against treadmills in the fitness community. Some just find them boring. Some think they can cause injuries. Some just really hate them for other personal reasons.
Living in the Northeast, I’m not going to say I prefer running on the treadmill, but I’m glad they exist to help keep my motivated and in-shape in the dead of winter. However, being a data nerd, I do often wonder about treadmill workouts. I certainly don’t totally trust the numbers the treadmill is spitting out.
Just how hard are you actually working on the treadmill? What is the pace if you change the incline? Do your mechanics change on the treadmill? Should you really always set it to a 1% incline? Let’s get some answers. Continue Reading
In the side yard garden space is at a premium, so I decided to try overwinter garlic late last year. Six month later I think it’s doing okay. This is my first go round with garlic so the whole process is a bit of a mystery. We’re still feeling each other out to see if we’ll date again next fall. So far, so good. I sunk three types of cloves into the ground around Halloween last year, covered it up with a good blanket of salt hay and then scoffed that anything would grow given the utter avalanche of snow we had in New England this year. But lo and behold, it did grown and it’s still growing (turns out cold stimulates the formation of the bulbs). Garlic is a hardy plant and given it’s preference or tolerance for cold, it’s a great way to extend the short growing season up here. Here are the five simple steps I followed (or plan to follow):
1. Get it in the ground Plant it later, but before the ground freezes. That’s the one golden rule with garlic. This one I’m pretty sure I did right. If you’re in the Northeast, you’ll likely want to go with the hard-neck variety. The other variety (the one typically found in supermarkets is soft-necked). Garlic isn’t overly picking, like most veggies, it likes rich, well drained soil. I amended the rows with compost, added some additional soil and layered on the salt hay to control weeds and give the cloves a little insulation. Be sure to plant each clove flat side down, pointy end up. I kept the soil moist till the snow came. Then I just crossed my fingers.
2. Spring time maintenance Around March, I pulled off a lot of the hay and was happy to find a number of hardy green shoots. I added a little seaweed fertilizer and largely left them alone other than some light weeding.
3. Scapes anyone? This is like the trailer before the movie. Scapes are the curling part of the plant right before it flowers. Cut them off before they flower to force more energy into bulb development and to add some mild, garlic flavor to any number of dishes like stir-fry’s, eggs or pesto. I’m anxiously awaiting scapes now. This is a signal that the growing season is winding down.
4. Harvest Once the leaves start to brown, it’s best to stop watering. When the stems start to collapse (but while still a little green), your garlic is ready to harvest. You can carefully dig down and check on the bulb size if you’re not sure. Be careful not to let it go too long or bulbs will start to rot in the ground. While some people like to use fresh, green garlic, most will want to dry and store cloves. I plan to try a bit of both. Place the bulbs on screens, or loosely braided, to cure in a dry, dark, airy place until thoroughly dry with papery skins. The bulbs can then be stored under cool, dry, dark conditions. Don’t forget to plant some of these cloves for next year’s harvest.