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My vision is to create a business from my garden, so that I can afford to leave my job, have the garden as income, and paint and write. I also want my customers to read the story of my garden, look at pictures, and get an idea of the process of the work of the garden.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

My car just died, luckily in the parking lot. Breathe. Got somebody to come and help me push it out of the way. Called my husband, and he is coming to get me. Had to cancel class tonight--they are going to re-schedule it for Monday evening. I have already missed two classes this semester, still have to make those up. One was for Hurricane Isalbel, the other was for being sick.

Now I am sick about the car. I called the guy who services it here, but he can't accomodate me right now. He said "It doesn't sound good." Thinks it could be a head gasket, whatever the hell that is.

A big bill, or worse, have to get a new car. Breathe. Turn it over. It's okay, nothing major, just can't control it, now I am thinking of money, money, money going out, which I feel like I can't afford. Always feel that way. It's okay--there is nothing to do. Just go home, eat, take a bath, read, go to bed. It will all work out.

Friday, October 24, 2003

Shoot! Now I'll never be able to fly to Europe on the Concorde.
So far today I have felt, for lack of a better term at the moment, two ecstatic experiences, or spiritual experiences of a sort.

Having hauled myself out of bed at 5:30 am to get to an AA meeting, and upon arriving at this meeting, found that the topic was on the first three steps. A lot of food for thought, right there. I was enjoying the sharing, listening well, when one of my favorite gods raised his hand to speak and, if I may paraphrase slightly here, said:

"Imagine that upon awakening in the morning you see a group of people around your bed who say to you that you have nothing to fear today, that whatever has made your life unmanageable, be it alcohol, drugs, sex, money, or food, has been taken care of, and we are here to assure that. That in the first step, which states, "We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable," WE admitTED (past tense), our lives HAD BECOME unmanageable (past tense), that there is a whole lot of hope in the past tenseness of these words. WE did it, not I did it. And we are here to assure you that today, you will find the power you need, and it is waiting to take care of you. If you let it. These are the first three steps, and by going to a meeting, you are insuring that you are taken care of.

I don't know if I have been able to translate my joy at listening to him share these words, but it was a heightened experience.

The second was on my daily walk along the towpath, with the yellow leaves, and the purple and dark blue and dark grey clouds, ducks and geese in droves in the water, shaking their feathers, the sandy towpath reminding me of my youth in the sandy ocean state of Rhode Island (now I know why I love this walk so much, it is the sandy soil of my past)
the air as chilly as could be, but not me, not chilly, because I am walking fast, walking hard, warming myself up.

And tonight, I anticipate another, as I read my new book called "The Known World," that I bought off Amazon.com the other day, and have been reading in the evenings.

By the way, off-topic, I put a new link on my page. I had seen an article about this house a few months ago, in the New York Times, and I got on Rocio's e-mail list for updates. I have a fantasy of finding the perfect, affordable piece of land somewhere and building this house on it. So far removed from the old 19th century stone house I live in today. It's one of my fantasies--not a bad one. And seems affordable. Maybe sometime when I go to visit my sister in St. Louis, we can drive down south about one hour to view a RocioRomero house that exists.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

I'm working on my customer survey here at work today, for my garden clients. My job is not busy--just filler work, and I did enough of that until I went crazy.

Went out for a run/walk at lunchtime--something I have been doing for the last few weeks--intentional exercise. I work in a town near the Delaware River and the canals that run along the river on both sides, and the towpaths are gorgeous and perfectly suitable for all kinds of exercise--bicycling, powerwalking, jogging. A giving surface, like hard sand, not too bumpy, not too rocky, or gravelly.

Someone finally called me back about the oil heat. He said he would contact his subcontractor who could come and give us an estimate for doing the duct-work. Then when the duct-work is done, the oil company can come in and put in a furnace and a tank. This is a big step--a real investment into our home.

Michel has the wood stove up and running, and that will do for a while. He ordered 3 cords of wood, so we will have that source, but the oil heat will be a significant plus, as we can heat the upstairs, and we can go away and leave the house id we want to in the winter, without fear of pipes bursting.

I still have tons of work to do in the garden. General clean-up.

Started to go to Al-anon again yesterday. There is a lunchtime meeting nearby, and found it amiable, and moving, as it always is when people share what's going on with them. I had promised my AA sponsor that I would do this, way back last year, and I had started going on Thursday nights, but now I am teaching on Thursday nights, so the lunchtime one is better for me.

But I can't go next Monday, as I am taking Monday and Tuesday off from work, going into New York City to visit with friends. I have still ten vacation days, and can only take five over into next year. November is supposed to be really busy here for me, so I can't really take any significant vacation until the Christmas and New Year's holidays. I will take two of my ten days next week, and take some days over the holidays, which will give me a nice long break, and if I don't have to use any of the time for sick days, can carry over a few until 2004. Assuming I still have a job, of course.

Monday, October 20, 2003

I've gotten out of the habit of posting to my blog. It's not as exciting anymore.

I delivered my last delivery for the growing season today. Talked with the client about developing a survey for my customers to fill out so that I can figure out how to make the business better. I will try to do that this week, as it seems to be slow here at work right now.

I went to an AA conference for Friday night and all day Saturday. It was on sponsorship, something I haven't been doing lately. It was the first time that I went to something local and stayed for all the speakers, meetings and panels. Not because I truly wanted to, but because I wanted to make the commitment to doing that. And I was to be of service to my sponsor, who was the engine behind this venture.

And I learned a few things. And I got to know a few people better. Have to say, though, that my envy came out when I was invited with a bunch of other workerbees to someone's house for dinner, and that house was incredibly luxurious. Furniture, rugs, paintings, swimming pool, polished surfaces, crystal, chandeliers, all in pretty good taste, it was a challenge for me to not get into my comparing my insides with someone else's outsides.

Had some good moments, even there, though. Feel like such a judgemental person, back at the conference, where a well-known speaker by the name of Clancy spoke. Even though he is my sponsor's sponsor, and therefore, my grand-sponsor, I approached him with wariness--is this a personality cult? Yes, he is smart, old, sober a long time, wild and wooly guy, who says whatever he thinks, and has quite a few rough edges, but in the final analysis, I couldn't really find fault with him.

We rented Bend It Like Beckham yesterday, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am glad that young girls today can be so physical with sports, unlike my own Catholic school upbringing, where I didn't even have to go to gym until I went to college, and therefore missed out on that type of teamwork. The movie was pretty funny, and I wouldn't mind seeing it again, sometime. I called my friend and offered it to her and her daughter to watch, if they brought it back to the store.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Today is our wedding anniversary. It is also the wedding anniversary of my parents, although my Dad has remarried since my mother died. It is also the anniversary of the Polish Pope. I'm part Polish, so I have a tiny affinity for this Pope, even though my spouse criticizes him greatly. It is our anniversary, and I want to celebrate our efforts at creating a place where we have faced each other and worked through some of the hard parts. I read once where "everyone thinks that marriage is the way to happiness, but in truth, marriage is a path to God."

I've been so busy at work, that I haven't been able to post. I've also segued into my second part-time job, which is teaching computers to nervous newcomers. Although I complained in my heart on my way to the first class, they are really great, and eager to learn. They are a lot of fun, and very forgiving, since last week we went on the Internet, and not enough of the computers would access it. One person was left out, and she was a good sport. I hope she really was, and comes back tonight, and I complained to the school, so we will see tonight what we can offer her.

The garden is finished producing, although we didn't yet get a killing frost. But my beans just laid down and died. I have a few things in the greenhouse, arugula, broccili raab, salad slowly coming, and some sorrel. I made a very tasty sorrel-and-red onion tart the other day, with eggs from our chickens. It was heavenly, and maybe I will make it again this weekend.

Outside, I have some kale, collards, and brussels sprouts. And celery root, and watercress. We still have potatoes in the ground, and didn't even think of them this past weekend. We went off to a local village day-fair, which was nice, and we met someone who my husband knew, and who gave us the name of someone for the heating situation we have.

We have no heat. Michel is re-installing the wood stove, but now we can start exploring other heating options. We are thinking that forced air from oil will be the best option for our house. We explored a heat pump, but it doesn't seem like the way to go. Nor does circulating water pipes, from oil, as our water is too hard. We have successfully avoided the house for seven years, but now it seems it is the time to get to work. Also, we can afford to do it right now.

I am exploring taking a course in technical writing. I will talk to my boss next week, as he wants to sit down with me, and he might help me decide if that will help my here on the job, or not.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Oh weariness. My job is so hard and tedious right now. I am formatting hundreds of slides, scientific in nature. Normally I like my job--it's a job, so liking it is a big bonus. But sometimes I get weary, and just want out.

Had lunch with sponsor and talked about creating more abundance in terms of money and career-happiness. Explained to her my mind meanderings around 1) going to graduate school to 2) either studying something that would bring in more money (don't know what), or 3) studying something I love--like literature.

I told her how I am loving reading Russian literature. Right now reading Brothers Karamazov, and am so amazed by the story. She suggested that I offer to teach a course in literature for the school where I teach computers. Which I thought was interesting and funny--me, thinking I needed to go to school to learn something, and she thinking I needed to teach in order to learn. Or just do something like that, not think about going back to school.

Which is possible. I am a good writer, according to my boss, and I thought that if I had the funds to go to school and study what I wanted to study, instead of just focusing on the money, I would study literature, because it is the key to good writing,or at least one of the keys.

Friday, October 03, 2003

It's Friday at 4:30. Almost time to go home--oh, yeh, I just remembered I have my car at Simmie's to check it out and "winterize" it. Hope it gets me through the winter. It has been a good car since February, when we bought it for $1,000. A minivan. Never liked them, now I love them. Especially for my garden business, I love that open side door, like a cargo door. It makes everything so much easier.

We had a frost last night--not a killing frost, since my nasturtiums were still alive, but a frost nonetheless. Guess I will have to pick all the beans this weekend.

We still have a lot of potatoes to harvest, and I will try to keep them for seed potatoes for next spring. I will put them in a box in the cellar between newspapers, something my neighbor used to do when he grew potatoes.

Also have to set up the wire frames in the greenhouse along with the reemay fabric over the frames, to add another layer of warmth to the greenhouse vegetables.

I started teaching last night--computers for the challenged. I like my new class--they all seemed to be able to follow. But my throat was still sensitive after being sick, and after two hours of using my voice non-stop, throat started to hurt again. But today it feels better. I took a long walk at lunchtime--power walking, to build up aerobic capacity.

I have two baby showers to go to tomorrow. So I need to buy some cards on my way home tonight. I have a gift for one, the other one I will give some money for the "diaper fund."

Next week might be last delivery week. I don't have much now. Beans, potatoes, watercress, arugula, beets, carrots, celery root, swiss chard, kale, collards, still seems like a lot, but most of those crops are not very big.

I made some awful jam last week when I was home sick. Followed a recipe that called for no sugar, only sweetened with raisins. Plum jam. Maybe I had the wrong kind of plums, but Michel said that it was 'inedible.' Well, so it goes.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Still recovering. I celebrated my 30 year anniversary of being sober on Monday. I went to an early AM meeting, and my sponsor Cindy gave me a 30-year coin. Then she gave me gifts, and a card went around the room which people signed. It was a nice moment for me. I had had a dream the night before that I announced my anniversary at a meeting, and no one applauded. The attitude being that I may have the time, but not the quality. This is the core of my being. I am not enough.

But that didn't happen, and I felt like I was enough. Mostly because of the love my sponsor gave me. I aspire to be like her, with a generous spirit. She even wanted to give me a party. I demurred, because of many reasons. But the meeting was good for my soul, anyway.

Still recovering from my sore throat.

One of my co-workers got fired last week while I was out sick. She is basically my only friend here at work, someone I could confide in. So I am bereft, and am meeting her for dinner after work. Of course, this shock is not about me, but about her, and she is reeling from the blow. Now she is faced with the great unknown, a place that breeds terror, but which can be an interesting adventure. For me, when I have been fired, or had to leave, or was shocked into something new, action is the best thing. Action and surrender. Surrender to what is, and action to see where the new next thing is to be. That is also an unknown, and I have never known what was best for me, anyway, in my life. When I am pushing over here, something calls from over there, that I could not have dreamed up. But I have to take actions, and though mine are usually anxiety-driven in those circumstances, they often become thrilling. It is thrilling to see how many variations there are out there in people, places, jobs, careers, situations. And I never know how they will turn out. How can we? I remember driving up to Merck for a temp job and feeling so sorry for myself, because I didn't think I wanted to work at a large pharmaceutical company. And the first couple of hours there, I had to sit in an empty room, and no one came out to get me. The on-site temp person had put me in that room, and I sat there and stewed.

But my boss there turned out to be great, and I made a good friend there, the work was interesting, the group I was in was extremely friendly, the surroundings were luxurious, there were so many benefits: an onsite gym, that was truly affordable, a cappucino bar, a good cafeteria, walking trails, internet access, no one breathing down my neck, decent pay. The only think I didn't like was the commute, but that became bearable with books-on-tape. I was so sad to have to leave, after one year, but they were letting all the temps go, after 9/11, and cutting budgets. That experience got me the job here, I am sure. So you never know.

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