My seed list

If I buy everything I want to, here’s what I’ll get:

Pole beans — Fortex

Beets — Moneta

Broccoli — De Cicco

Chinese Cabbage — Minuet

Carrots — Sugarsnax

Celery — Tango

Cucumbers — Little Leaf Pickling

Lettuce — Nevada Summer Crisp

Lettuce — Mild Mesclun Mix

Peas — Caselode

Peas — Snow Sweet

Peppers — Gourmet (orange bell)

Spinach — Emu

Squash — Bush Baby zucchini

Squash — JWS 6823 PMR butternut

Sweet Potatoes — Beauregard

Tomatoes — Big Beef

Tomatoes — Estiva

The problems are: a) my garden is just about 20×20 feet, and b) that seed list is $67 before shipping. Since there would be many more seeds per packet than I can actually grow, I could share with friends; anyone want to buy a share in any of these packets?

Oh, also, I usually buy pepper and tomato plants instead of starting with seed. I don’t have any flats for starting with seed, but I haven’t been very happy with the pepper plants I’ve bought locally. Might at least do the tomato plants again, though; and maybe end up spending as much on the plants as the seeds would have been, or maybe more.

Oh, and I want to buy two more blueberry plants to replace the ones that died last year.

Oy.

(What about Brussels Sprouts? Or a real (seeded) watermelon? Or regular potatoes?)

Also, what about garden sharing? If we don’t both have room for all these varieties, maybe one of us can grow some of them and one grow the others, and share the harvest.

Anger. And Truth.

1. Do you think there is an important distinction between anger and the way one expresses anger?

I tend to think so. I think anger the emotion is like any other emotion — having no moral content in itself, as valid as any other feeling, just as permissible. Even when the anger is irrational, or out of proportion, it’s still just a feeling — it’s possible to recognize its irrationality or disproportion and still acknowledge the fact of the feeling.

How one expresses anger is different, though. I don’t think it’s generally okay to hit or kick or bite or yell at people, for example. And I think one should be careful about banging and slamming and stomping, too, making sure that nothing important is broken or hurt. It does seem that anger needs some sort of forceful physical outlet, but it still needs to be a safe and appropriate one: chop wood, punch a pillow, go running, throw darts (at a dartboard, of course), etc.

It’s not pleasant when someone is angry at you, whether their anger is rational or proportional or not.

But it’s more manageable when the someone can still speak with respect, and can delay the physical expression until a safe time and place. There have been times when I’ve been so angry I can’t speak with a pleasant tone of voice, but I CAN tell the other person that I’m speaking to communicate, not to attack, even though my voice sounds nasty.

What do you think?

2. The children’s lesson in church today was about the armor of God metaphor in Ephesians. One item is the belt of truth. It has never occurred to me to associate it with TELLING the truth — for me it’s usually connoted KNOWING the truth.

Not that I think telling the truth is unimportant. Just that what we need to stay strong in faith is not so much keeping our behavior up to a certain standard, but in knowing the Gospel and being open to it speaking to all parts of our life.

What do you think?

How green is your tree? And do you care?

Just about every Christmas, our NY pastor prints the Wendell Berry Christmas tree poem in the church bulletin. No offense to our pastor, whom we respect and love, but I hate that poem. It’s all about how the amazing and saintly Berry doesn’t desecrate his tree with anything so yucky as artificial lights, and so on. Or at least to us it comes across that smug and arrogant.

As with so many things, I find myself equally offended by (instead of equally gracious towards) those who are smugly green and those who are cheerfully fashionable.

My tree is artificial. It may have involved a yucky manufacturing process and transportation to the store, but it was only made once and is reusable. And doesn’t need to be watered. It is too big in diameter for our taste — one of these days, if we can, we’d like to trade it for a skinny one. I’m also increasingly interested in the kind with short needles — what are those, fir? instead of bushy branches.

It bears ornaments that I grew up with as well as more recent gifts. I don’t think I’ve made or bought an ornament since we lived in Richmond and I made one with the kids at the Montessori school where I worked.

They are all materials, natural and synthetic.

The ones I like best are sentimental (like mom’s cross-stitch or nunny’s bead wreaths) or about Jesus and faith (like the ones I made in college, which are also sentimental), or just pretty (like the flower or the snowflake or the bell), or kitties.

I have a length of some kind of gold trim / braid — much skinnier than garland — but it’s not long enough for the tree. So we do without garland. I don’t like the bushy kind. A string of cranberries or popcorn or both would be pretty but more work than I care to put into decorating (and only oil-popped popcorn strings well) — or a string of red beads to look like cranberries.

The topper is an angel — handmade, I believe, in what feels like cotton fabrics and threads.

There are also some felt bows that give some sense of unity to the tree.

And colored — but tiny — lights.

So what’s your tree like?

Are you super-Berry green, with an outdoor living tree decked out all winter in edible treats for the deer, squirrels, and birds?

Are you super-faithful, with only ornaments that reflect the reason for the season?

Are you unabashedly passionate about your kitschy big bubble lights and retro silver tree?

Do tell!

Toddler routines

Your turn! If you’re a mama or daddy, please add your two cents in the comments.

Do you (or did you) bother trying to structure your toddler’s day?

If so, what elements of structure were important to you? (I.e. meals, baths, different kinds of play time, chores (yours or theirs), naps, etc…)

How did you go about creating and managing the routine?

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The decision that seems to be making itself

Have I had much positive to say about my current therapist?

It seems that, while it hasn’t been a catastrophic failure, this round of therapy has been relatively unhelpful from the beginning.

It could be that what I most needed at that point back in May was to try Zoloft again, and that talk therapy wasn’t as needed.

It could be that the improved social situation has boosted my resilience, hope, and confidence.

It could be that my current therapist really is fairly simplistic; perhaps good in crisis, but not so helpful in the subtleties of fine-tuning during functioning non-acute seasons.

The two bits of art therapy we’ve done were pleasant, but not particularly useful or insightful as far as I can tell.

Talk is usually short, full of generalities, and platitudinous. She points out negative self-talk. Reminds me not to try to read minds. Wishes I could get out of my head more and not overthink everything. Something about our interaction puts an end to conversations. It’s not so much that I feel she is wrong, or that I think she wants me to stop talking about something, but that when she brings out a statement of the obvious, I no longer have anything to say about the topic.

I tried to talk about that today, but it didn’t really go anywhere either. She expressed complete willingness to get specific and in depth, but it seems dependent on me to direct, and I’m not sure how to go about that.

Previous thoughts about quitting this round of therapy have been alarming and dismaying, but now I’m feeling a little more steady about it — I think I can survive without therapy right now. Not that I’m all better and no longer have any issues, but that I have some skills to practice and ideas to remember, and my life situation is fairly supportive.

I have another appointment in two weeks. I plan to go to that one and see how I feel then.

Meanwhile, some questions for y’all:

Do you think some people, sometimes, act out of mere politeness without actually being interested in you (or someone else), or do you think that people will let you know if they don’t want you around? How do people send the message if they don’t want you around?

What do you do when there are people in your life you don’t particularly want to be with much — do you try to send that message (if so, how?) or try to hide it?