Archive for October, 2009

What organic gardening will get ya

October 24, 2009

The organic gardening adventure/experiment of 2009 is now complete.  Here are our results:

Cucumbers:  F

Most of them were so bitter we couldn’t eat them.  But it was okay because mom had so many that we had all we wanted.  Their eggplant, broccoli, and squash gets A grades for sure.

Tomatoes:  B

They tasted delicious especially the roma grapes, but they came on late, and we fought the snails all summer long.  In fast, those damn snails made me really really want to go buy chemicals and say “Take that you little bastards.”

Strawberries:  D

The few we got were tasty but we didn’t get nearly enough.  Rhubarb too.  But hey, we have next summer for these little guys.

Peppers: A

The serranos were a bit too spicy, but that’s what we have Doody for.  The fajita bells were tasty.  The Anaheim and Poblano peppers singlehandedly made the summer.  I’m a pepper roasting, skin-peeling expert at this point.  The banana peppers were good too but I have yet to try them pickled. (Thanks mom for doing that.)

Watermelon: ? Maybe the watermelon should get a good grade, and the gardeners should get failing ones.  I just don’t know.  We picked one too soon so we waited on another and it split right there in the garden.  The few we got that were ripe (but not too ripe) were good.  But with 3 watermelon plants, we expected more than 3 tasty watermelons.

Herbs: B

The cilantro was a bust but the basal and mint made excellent pizza and mojitos respectively.  But don’t get them confused.  Casey spent all summer cutting sprigs of mint and basal to put on his dresser “to smell good his room.”  It was an odd combination at first, but one we got used to.  Now that we know the cilantro/cardamon progression, I’m sure we can keep the cilantro longer next year.

Pumpkins:  A+

Our cucumbers may have been bitter and our tomatoes a tasty treat for the snails of the neighborhood, but our pumpkins were a blast.  How do you like them pumpkins?

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Only 5 this year, probably because we cut a lot of the pumpkinflower for quesadillas.  Last year we had 13, but none as big as these.

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Lifting with your waist and below might be good advice.  But it wasn’t enough to get me to carry these.  So I rolled them.

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Casey’s masterpiece, with the help of Will and Mamma Kim and lots of other folks.

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Riley’s working on a pumpkin that pukes.  If he ever gets it done I’ll post another picture.

There’s something really powerful and amazing about growing your own food.  This is the 3rd year we’ve had a garden – and this is the biggest garden yet- stay tuned for next summer.  I have no idea where we’ll be, but I imagine we’ll be gardening.

Why it takes Riley 90 minutes to shower

October 20, 2009

And the better questions is this.  How can he do this for 90 minutes without getting bored, but the five minutes it should take to clean his room typically takes a half hour or more because he’s “got bored” or “forgot” what he was supposed to be doing?

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So many introductions so few conclusions

October 14, 2009

I’ve agonized for week now on my law school personal statement and have written no less than 14 introductions.  I’ve only finished two of them and I’m torn over which one I like better.  The first one is about my family, my partner and the boys and our little acts of activism and then ties into my desire to make a bigger difference through law.  The second one is about my background, being a first generation college student, not necessarily having a roadmap but coming to law through my desire for social change.  I’m worried that the first one will make me sound too “family” oriented and the second one I worry that the second one will seem like I’m saying “poor me.”  My babes are so important to me but they are nowhere in the second essay.  I will keep plugging away on both, but if one speaks to you in a more authentic way, please let me know which one.  And, no I don’t want to merge them together because the length is already a big issue and I think I need to keep the topic pretty tight.  Of course, you can e-mail me if you don’t want to post the comment on my blog.

Option 1:

The hairdresser hoisted my son into the booster seat that topped the parlor chair. She proceeded to comb out his rusty ringlets and looked shocked at the length once the tresses were wet and tame.  She twisted the locks into thick piggy-tail braids then stood back to admire her work.  She retrieved her scissors, glanced at my partner, then at me, then at Riley himself.  We each gave her a decisive nod.  She held up the bulky twisted clumps, chopped them off, and then sheared until only a spiky half-inch remained.

When my son Riley was three years old, a friend from daycare was diagnosed with cancer.  In response, Riley decided to grow his hair “all the way to sit on it” so he could donate it to another child in need. His friend with cancer received treatment and recovered.  Still, Riley grew his hair.  For more than two years Riley never wavered from his goal.   When he finally cut it, he donated twelve inches to Locks of Love.

Option 2:

I grew up in a small oilfield town that endured cycles of boom and bust correlated with the cost of a barrel of oil. My father joined the oilfields as a laborer alongside his brothers just like his father had done. My mother’s brothers worked the oilfields too and she and her sisters married men in the business. My dad progressed up the ranks and carried job titles that included worm, roustabout, roughneck, derrickhand, driller and finally, toolpusher. It was difficult, dangerous work and the dangers often struck close to home. One uncle lost the use of his arm in an accident, another uncle broke his leg, and my uncle Richard was killed.

It was shortly after my uncle’s death, when I was ten years old, I decided I was not going to marry anyone in the oilfield; instead, I was going to go to college and make it on my own. I came to that realization in a flash. I was standing in the emergency room at the local hospital after my mother received a frantic message that my father had been involved in an oilfield accident and was receiving treatment there. As she pulled me through the sterile halls of the hospital I accepted what I assumed was my father’s death and realized that my mother, whose only work experience was preparing meals in a rehabilitation center, was going to have to raise four children on her own.

Don’t worry, if neither one will do, I have a dozen more just waiting to be fleshed out.  Maybe I’m hyperobsessing because my test score gets released on Monday and there’s a big part of me worried that my score will take me out of contention for a good school before I even get any further down this road.

Self Esteem is Now Intact. Thank you.

October 8, 2009

I talked to my dad on the phone tonight and he told me I was breaking my uncle’s heart.  Me?  Breaking my uncle’s heart?  I wondered what I could have possibly done. My dad said that I’m breaking his heart because I don’t blog anymore.

I made some excuse about being busy.  I am busy.  Very busy.  I thought I was getting some jab for taking August off as a vacation month and then letting September follow suit.

It didn’t even dawn on me that my dad thought I had QUIT blogging.

Then an hour later my brother calls and asks why I’m not going to blog anymore.  More specifically, he wanted to know why a person would write that she is quitting blogging and then post another post a few hours later.  I could see where he was coming from.  Maybe just the thought of quitting was motivating me to keep on writing.  Some sort of Pavlovian response.  Speaking of that – whenever I ever think of going on the Atkins diet, I suddenly have an uncontrollable urge to eat potato chips and crackers and pasta.  Just a minute.

I need to go get some carbs.  Apparently just writing “Atkins Diet” requires the same response.

Suddenly I realize that I’m a dumbass and by posting my last column, I made it seem like I was quitting the blog.

I’m not.

For the last 2 years I’ve been writing a monthly column for a local LGBT newspaper called the Q.  This month is my last column which I cross posted on my blog.  I’m know that I don’t post nearly as much as I should, but I’m not ready to give it up yet.  Especially because I can’t live with myself knowing I’d be breaking my uncle’s heart.

Uncle.  I’ll keep writing this blog as long as you keep reading it.  Deal?

Something’s Fishy in Here

October 7, 2009

I helped Casey out of his clothes a few minutes ago.  I intended to put him in pajamas, but the second I took his underwear off, I smelled the most overwhelming disgusting smell imaginable.  It was a tuna fish mixed with little boy sweat smell.  It wasn’t pretty.

“Dude, What is that smell?”

“Dunno.”

“Kim come in here and smell this kid.”

Kim assured me that with the cold she was fighting off she would not be able to smell anything.  She took a big whiff and tried not to let the disgust be too visible – the stinky kid didn’t need a complex.   Before you get all judgmental on our cleanliness over here, you should know that the kid took a bath less than 24 hours ago.  Whatever tuna-fish-smelling infection he was emitting was freshly grown.

Kim promptly ran a sink-bath and plopped Casey in the kitchen sink.

Moments later, I heard wails of laughter.

“Ruth, get in here and look at this!”

I wasn’t sure what Kim had in store, but I complied.

Kim was standing in front of the refrigerator reading the school lunch menu.

10/7/2009  Breaded Fish, Potato Wedges, Pears, Milk

The kid dropped breaded fish down his pants.

Whew!

Sharing the KimJoy

October 7, 2009

So I’ve been as bad about writing for Q as I have been about writing for U. But this month I managed to put together my swan song – a note to Kimmie – for the love and support for the last 13 years. So here you go, my last Q column “Sharing the KimJoy.”

I’ve said before that if I knew how to have a nervous breakdown, I would. Some days, it feels like the only reason I haven’t already is that it is just another thing I am incompetent at accomplishing. Much like many details of my life, I just can’t get to it. Perhaps, a nervous breakdown does sound like a nice vacation, although I would rather prefer my break from reality to be on a beach in warm weather, a padded room where I can rock freely does have its appeal. So it sits, on my unfinished to do list – have a nervous breakdown – right next to – get prescription cost reimbursed – and return library books.
Of course I’m only joking, still I feel a rush of guilt just writing this, as if someday my boys will read this and realize that Mommy Ruth didn’t cherish every moment of their childhood like I am supposed to. Kim, on the other hand, has just as many things on her to-do list (probably more since item number 1 reads, write a dissertation), and she trudges through them one at a time, never letting on that there are other things she’d rather be doing. She makes cooking, and laundry, and dishes and gardening fun. She literally whistles while she works, and the boys line up – wanting to help. She makes them feel important. Casey’s grin of accomplishment when he does something as simple as matching a pair of socks when helping with laundry is the only reward she needs. I can only hope that I make them feel important too. It just isn’t as natural for me.
The truth is that I do cherish every moment of the boys’ childhood and that is part of the reason that I cannot get everything done. And I am getting better – much better – at letting the things that don’t really matter, sit. Those are the things that will be there tomorrow. As much as I’ve enjoyed writing this column the last couple of years, time is the commodity I just don’t have enough of, and so, for me, for now, I’m going to let this sit too. But I have a small piece of unfinished business I first need to attend to.
I started writing this column right after Casey was born, and when Riley was a cross-dressing pre-schooler. Casey is now a pre-schooler himself and Riley is ruling the second grade in traditional dress. I’ve written about the joy, the fun, the lessons, and the lives of those boys, I’ve written about being queer in Utah, I’ve written about schooling and working, activism and life, but I don’t recall ever really writing about Kim. She, like is often the case, blends into the background of many of these essays. She’s the one in class who isn’t the first to talk, or even the second, or even the third. But when she speaks, she has something important to say, and the babbling verbal processors like me at the front of the class really should listen more. I’ve decided that this is going to be my last column, and it is only fitting to dedicate it to Kim, for without her, I wouldn’t have been able to write these vignettes the last few years.
For those of you who don’t know her, Kim has worked tirelessly to complete a Ph.D in education while never putting her family behind her work, her school or her research. She has mastered the evening routine, of cook – eat – clean – bathe – homework – boys to bed – and then she starts in on her own to-do list. She doesn’t sleep nearly enough as she should and she doesn’t get nearly as much respect and thanks as she deserves. She’s a teacher and a learner and a motivator and a believer. Did I mention that she cute and sexy and sassy besides? I myself am considering going back to school next year once Kim is finished with her program. What a role model I have to follow for I can only hope I keep my priorities and values in line as well as she has. Next month we will be celebrating 13 years together – Kim’s favorite number – so the boys and I are excited to make this year even better than the last 12.
So while the family seems to be at the end of a very long race, if all goes well, I’ll be starting the marathon all over again. But I know I will have the easier path, for I have Kim running alongside, whistling with joy, and reminding me to have fun. Thank you.