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Archive for the ‘General Whining’ Category

The last two days cleared 70 degrees. The day before that was over 60. Today, we won’t even get close to 40! I’m a huge fan of winter and am always sad to see it go, but sometimes spring gets a little ridiculous!

Our buyers did their inspection of our house this weekend and it looks like they’re really going to buy it from us! I guess this is really going to happen. What a relief…

Our latest idea for what we might do with our property, as far a small business venture, is hops. The price of hops is way up right now (to the point that our favorite brewery had to jack up the price of their beer by a quarter a pint). But even when it isn’t, it seems like a decent money-maker for the amount of work involved. We bought rhizomes for 5 different breeds of hops recently. We’ll start those this year and see how they do, which breeds do best, and whether we like it. Maybe someday we’ll ramp up to an acre or more of hops for local breweries or home-brewers. We’ve even been reading up on what it takes to get organic certification.

That’s one of the things I love about this place we’re buying. The options are pretty much only limited to what we have the time, skill and inclination to do. How lucky are we?

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I’m beginning to question whether I have the discipline for this whole blogging thing. Regular posts?! Sheesh! Oh, well, if I’m just talking to myself here, that’s fine with me.

Real estate sucks. There, I’ve said it. We found The House. We loved it. Great location, nice land, super-cute house with an attached greenhouse, guest house, 2 productive wells. Everything we were hoping for and more. It was the kind of place I can see myself in for many years to come. It was just so “us”.

It had been on the market since December, but we hadn’t gone to look at because it was just a tad out of the range of what we wanted to pay (less than 10k! We can still easily afford it, we were just being stubborn and cheap!). What a mistake… When our agent called to find out about covenants so that we could be sure we wanted to put in an offer, she found out that an hour before we saw the house, an offer had been accepted. It sat there for 3 whole months, and was gone right when we decided we wanted it. I guess we’re not entirely out of the race. The offer is contingent on a house selling. So if we sell our house first and get an offer accepted, it’s ours unless the other folks will go so far as to get a bridge loan or something! It’s a remote chance, but I’m really praying for it. I just haven’t seen anything else out there that even compares.

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In more promising news, I started some seeds yesterday! Brussels Sprouts, onions, kale, rosemary, sage, oregano and the most lovely broccoli I’ve ever seen. I might have started them a touch early, but I’m just too excited. I couldn’t wait!

This is my first year starting seeds indoors, so I’m excited to see how it turns out. I bought a flourescent tube light and set them up in our heated workshop area. I was surprised it was so cheap. I’ll be sure to take photos as they sprout!

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Blessings…

I had a rough night a couple of nights ago. Without getting into details, I just had a storm of baby-lust (which has begun to border on baby-hysterics), job dissatisfaction, financial and grr-mad-at-husband issues bear down on me and I just lost it, for essentially the entire evening. Luckily, EZ was out of town and I had the house to myself, so I could just lose my shit freely. My dogs never say, “Now Kim, be rational. You’re over-reacting.” Good thing for them, too, because I hear they can remove dog’s vocal chords.

Anyhow, I’m feeling much more positive now. I was poking around the interweb today and blessed1 had a post about 7 blessings. She’s a more religious woman than myself, a lapsed/recovering Catholic, but nonetheless, we all receive blessings no matter what we recognize as their origin. So, after such a fit of negativity, I think it’s quite important to focus on one’s blessings to redirect a bit.

1) My husband, who can be incredibly thoughtful and responsive to my needs if I just let him know what they are. The next day when EZ was back in town I emailed him from work that I just kind of felt like curling up in ball and staying there all night. So when I got home, he was there with a 6-pack of good beer and the Blades of Glory movie and proclaimed it my “Curling-up-in-a-ball Kit” with a big smile. All of a sudden, I didn’t feel like assuming the fetal position quite so much.

2) Perspective from friends. They didn’t even have to say anything. I just let my mind wander to various friends. One friend who has infertility issues. I can’t think of anyone who deserves a baby more than her and her partner, but it’s tougher than it should be for them and they don’t have a zillion dollars to blow on fertility treatments and/or adoption. In comparison, I have little to complain about because I need to put off getting pregnant and might not have my ideal circumstances once I do (disclaimer: I have no clue about the state of my fertility.) In thinking about another friend, who is Buddhist, the philosophy “desire causes pain” popped into my head. How true. I was so upset because I didn’t certain things in my life that I want so badly. The problem wasn’t that I don’t have those things/conditions in my life. The problem is that I want them so badly.

3) Mountain Grouse season opens tomorrow! We’re taking our German Shorthair, Stanley, out for his first hunting session since he got his training.

4) I’ll finally see some friends again this weekend! We haven’t seen each other in forever, it seems, but 2 separate sets of friends are having parties this weekend, so we’ll all get a chance to catch up.

5) A good family. My parents visited us from Colorado after the river trip. It was so good to see them and spend time with them.

6) An empty house (relatively speaking). My parents left on Wednesday! No more entertaining! Less talking! More free time!

7) The fact that though I do sometimes let myself sink into self-pity and sorrow, I never stay there too long. I seek perspective and look for the silver lining. It was not my instinctive approach. I have trained myself to do this over time (I used to have problems with depression when I was younger), but I’m blessed to have the personal strength to do so.

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Things I believe

(Not necessarily an exhaustive list….)

  • In a higher, benevolent power (let’s call it, um, say… God?) that gives a crap about us humans
  • That I am not smart or omniscient enough to discern which religion has this God’s nature 100% pegged. (But I hope to just pick something at some point anyhow.)
  • That God will forgive me that shortcoming.
  • That I am sure as hell not smart enough to know what God wants or expects out of any other being on this planet. Their lives are between them and God.
  • That my husband, parents, sister and someday children are the most important things in my life. No job, no amount of money, no piece of land, and likely, no other person will ever love me the way they do.
  • That my dogs almost made that list, but I would never put down my husband or sister because there’s no way I can afford his medical bills.
  • I adore my dogs like nobody’s business, but dogs aren’t human and many humans sometimes forget that.
  • That no amount of money is worth significantly compromising my life or my family.
  • In doing a hard, honest day’s work, then going home and forgetting all about it and basking in life.
  • That governmental regulation should make sense. It doesn’t take local conditions into mind, so often. And that gets really annoying and expensive.
  • Neither should we shy away from good regulation just because it’s regulation. Just make it make sense.
  • That the above 2 bullets seem so obvious, but you would not believe the idiotic regulation I’ve been dealing with lately.
  • That the food one eats is more important than any other factor in one’s health (unless you’re completely genetically cursed, I guess).
  • That how one’s food is produced can have positive or negative effects that extend far beyond one’s body and into one’s community, the economy, moral issues, environmental health, the sustainability of one’s entire civilization, so on and so forth. Choose carefully.
  • That the crops our Country subsidizes are killing our Country’s people.
  • That Farmer’s Markets are the rockin’est thing ever.
  • That myself and my husband are the only things I truly want to depend on for my sustenance in the long run.
  • That homesteading will be harder than I think, but easier than I fear.
  • That almost everything that happens in our lives can be construed as a blessing or a curse. The choice is yours.
  • That a positive attitude changes everything for the better.
  • That there’s no better way to spend a day than lazily floating down a river. The laziness is optional, actually…
  • That Bud and Coors and lots of other beers are 1 small step above drinking carbonated piss with 4.5% alcohol by volume.
  • That ripe tomatoes freshly picked from my own garden are direct evidence that the above mentioned higher power exists and thinks I am worthy of such a treasure.
  • Many other things that maybe I’ll post about later.

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A good woman

I was out of town on work trip for the last two weeks. While there, I met a woman my age, who seemingly has it all. She is smarter than most of the highly educated people I met there, despite her relatively lower position and education. Gorgeous, funny, sweeter than pie, tough as can be, charming and very personable. I instantly liked her (let’s call her Lily).

During my last night in town, I also met her boyfriend. I instantly disliked him. He just set off my (admittedly strong) radar for jerks immediately. Another friend I made there (who we’ll call Jill) told me later in the evening that he yells at Lily in front of people as a matter of course, that she felt stuck as to what to do. Lily is just not receptive to any negative comments about her boyfriend and Lily’s boyfriend is already onto Jill. He discourages them hanging out and ridicules Lily when she says something that “Jill would say.”

That night, I witnessed it for myself. There was some lame-ass drama about ‘your girlfriend called my girlfriend something mean’ (it was in jest). Words were spoken. Beer bottles were hurled out of trucks. It felt lik High School Redux. Well, Lily’s boyfriend decided it was time to go kick so-and-so’s ass and thought Lily should come with. She refused to go with him and be a party to some fight. And there, in front of everyone, he berated her. He yelled and insulted and talked down to her. It was very clear that this man views Lily as a possession. His love for her goes only as far as his control over her does. It was a pathetic display in my eyes to see a grown man so desperate for control that he would sink to such lows.

I spoke some to Jill about this. I could say something, I told her. I’m leaving tomorrow and what do I care if she shuts me out and doesn’t want to speak to me ever again? I just wanted to hug her and say, ‘this is not how a good man treats the woman he loves. You are a good woman. You deserve a good man.’ But no, Jill told me, she won’t listen. She’s not ready. Well, she may not have been ready, but I wish I’d have said something. My own cowardice and unwillingness to break the status quo bothers me greatly still.

The next morning, I left town. I was driving to meet my loving, repectful husband who treats me as his equal and I got to thinking. I am close to another woman who was willing to accept abusive treatment from her partners. A women who thinks that all she needed was to tough out the bad times and it would all be ok (she’s getting better and better with each relationship). But that toughness is something she shares with Jill and, I think, something a lot of women who settle for less than they deserve also share. They think that they can persevere and shoulder the entire burden of a relationship alone. And they do for quite some time, usually.

What I wish for them is that toughness would grow into strength. Toughness is an ability to endure, to push through the pain and difficulty, but it doesn’t necessarily have a point. Strength on the other hand is a combination of toughness, discerning, and willingness to act. A tough woman powers through the difficulties with only her original goal in mind. She just stays the course. A strong woman has a deeper respect for her self. She will power through difficulties, but she knows when that goal is damaging to her and she’ll make the hard, painful decision to walk away.

These women have all the raw ingredients. I just pray that they can take all that they give to these men who appreciate none of it, and turn it inward. Give themselves the gift of self-respect and true strength.

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I’ve been working away from home in a small Montana town. It’s a big project for my big company, so people come from all over the US to work here. Most of the people are big city folks and mostly from the East. I’ve always felt a little less sophisticated and less culturally aware than people from big cities. A little clunky and a little ignorant, I suppose. The big cities have all this culture and art and fancy things. I appreciate and love my simpler upbringing and quieter life, but I recognize the drawbacks and what I’m missing out on.

My big city counterparts here, well, they’ve surprised me. Mostly people I generally enjoy, but I’m suprised how ignorant and intolerant they are of different cultures within their own country and their own race. The life here is different than big cities and it’s different than a lot of small towns. It is profoundly different from the small southern Arizona town I spent my first 16 years and still more hardcore than the next small Western Colorado town I lived in. Things like the fact that hunting is not mere hobby, or merely a way to attain meat, but is rather a way of life kinda freaks these people out. So, long story short, I’ve heard a lot of ignorant stuff this week. This however, takes the cake. I was at a party last night with my co-workers and I was getting to know a big city girl. We’d gone through the ‘where ya froms’ and all that, and in conversation, I mentioned my husband. She asked me how old I was and I told her I was 26.

“Oh, how long have you been married?” She asked

“Coming up on 2 years in August,” I smiled.

“Oh wow, 24?! So young… I guess that’s just what you do out here, though,” she said, like I was a sad case of arranged marriage and perhaps I’d also had a sexual organ ritually altered.

I tried to explain that, actually, I married for love, not out of social or cultural obligation. Also, what the fuck, bitch?! (Heh. No, actually I was very polite.) I am so lucky that I met such a fantastic man when I was only 21. It surprised me, actually, that I married so young (not that I really married all that young). But when you find a man like that, who you feel like that about, and he feels the same about you? You roll with it.

I was relating the incident to my husband, who is (much) more worldly than myself, but doesn’t have a superiority complex about it, over the phone today. He said, “Well, most big cities have a Little Italy, or a ChinaTown, but there’s no Little Butte or RedneckTown. They probably understand people from other countries better than you do, but they don’t get a lot of the people in their own country.”

I guess the conclusion I came to is that, unless you’ve lived pretty much everywhere, we all have deficiencies in what we should know about the other cultures. The hope is that your Mama and Pop taught you some modicum of politeness and humility and that you need not exert your percieved superiority over other cultures. If you are in a discussion with someone from a culture you don’t understand, ask polite questions, or maybe, just shut your damn mouth and keep your idiotic stereotypes.

Dumbasses come from every culture on Earth. I guess that’s what unites us.

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Barry White is my sweet, old Black Lab. He has never fetched. I’ve never shot a gun within a mile of him, but is clearly gun-shy and thus doesn’t hunt. He doesn’t really play. He mostly lays there. And breathes… a lot. Oh! And he eats. He loves to be in the woods, but he mostly just sits there and smiles. Most of all, he loves love.

Also, due to his deep fear of pretty much anything that goes boom, he is the biggest pill-popper I know. Well, of course, last week was the 4th of July. Of course, we are the last house in City Limits. Of course, fireworks are legal outside of city limits. My neighborhood sounds like the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan the whole week of the 4th of July.

Now, if Barry just got nervous and burrowed in closets and barked a lot like most dogs. We’d just ride it out. But, Barry, he likes to take things to extremes. Which means that when there’s a storm or fireworks, he leaves ‘gifts’ for us all over the house. We’ll find a couch soaked in urine or a huge dookie in an inconvenient spot (well, really, where can a dog poop inside the house that is convenient?). We go through an incredible amount of Nature’s Miracle in the summers, between the firecrackers and the thunderstorms. Well, the most effective way to curb the damage to the house is to give him tranquilizers. I’m not a big fan of over-medication, but be honest, would you want to clean urine out of your couch everytime lightning got within 10 miles of you? (For the record, I’ve tried the desensitization methods. But even with a CD of thunder set on the lowest volume, he freaks out.)

I think he knows when I’m giving him his pill. I generally give it to him inside a piece of cheese. He loves cheese, but he really loves cheese during a thunderstorm. I like to imagine that his thought process when I pull the cheese out of the fridge goes something like, “O, sweet cheese of blissful sleepiness… take me away to my happy place.” Perhaps, he’s actually thinking, “Oh shit, sleepy-cheese. I don’t really want to feel all fuzzy and hungover for the next day, but damnit, I love me some cheese!” I choose the former.

At the moment, I have a panting, digging, distressed Black Lab at my feet under the desk. I just gave him his sleepy-cheese and I’m hoping it kicks in before he takes a dump on my clean clothes basket. You see, now that the fireworks of the 4th of July have subsided, that nasty high pressure ridge all over the West has pushed Arizona’s monsoon aaaaalllll the way north to me. I feel like a kid again (I was raised mostly in AZ), baking in the humid heat through the mid-day and then enjoying a nice, violent, mostly dry thunderstorm by early evening. Poor Barry, he doesn’t really like it so much, but he’s slowing down. Soon he’ll be a droopy, snoring pile of black fur.

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