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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.

Friday, May 28, 2004

I shook off the mood that had me complaining. How? Perhaps it was the meditation group that met last night, and we listened to Tibetan Monk musicians, that brought weird and ghostly sounds into my head. Tried to create conscious contact with my Higher Power, but my mind was restless and busy with all kinds of things, some really stupid.

I will travel to Maine in a few weeks with my friend and her little girl. They are going further north, and I will pay for the gas that we use. She and I and little girl will drive up on Wednesday and come back on Saturday. I can see my Dad, and spend a couple days with him and his wife and her son. They are getting so fragile, now, and neither of them are doing very well. It's time to talk.

Sometimes I hate nature. Tonight before dark two baby birds somehow fell from their nest, and may have been injured. The adults were frantically screaming and swooping and the cat was ready to pounce. I picked up one baby but it managed to bolt out of my hand and into the shrubbery under the clothes line. My husband told me a bit later that he found another baby bird. We didn't know what to do. Didn't know where the nest was, didn't see if they were injured, didn't have a clue. Just the loud clatter and shrieking of the parent birds. My husband got some worms out of the compost heap to see if one of the baby birds would eat a worm, but he said it didn't seem to like it, or know what to do with it.

It has been a spring of dead baby birds, along the towpath. Killed from the nest being too high and no way for the babies to get down to swim, killed from dogs whose owners let them off the leash.

My stepdaughter told us that if we wanted to feed the baby birds, we would have to regurgitate the worms. I don't think that is going to happen.

Memorial Day--we went to the nicest parade on Saturday. Just a little town thing. First there were some old soldiers, carrying flags, and wearing uniforms (but I couldn't tell you what the uniforms were). Then, there were some local dignitaries in a couple of sleek 50s convertibles. Then there was a marching band from a middle school nearby. Boy scouts, Masons, and more convertibles with dignitaries ended the line.
At the bridge someone threw a flowered wreath in the river, and there was a prayer from a chaplain, a few words from a dignitary, a rifle salute, and then the sweetest little red-headed boy played taps on his trumpet. The whole simplicity of the ritual was very moving. I thought of my uncle, whom I never knew, who died in World War II. My Dad told me last summer that he was an alcoholic.

Then we went to hang out at Julia's house drinking lime-aid and eating low-fat ice-cream sandwiches.

I worked like a banshee in the garden this weekend. Now that I am skinnier, I also seem to have more energy.

I also wrote an essay and entered it into the John Templeton Foundation Power of Purpose Essay Contest, but I had to do it in Open Office, and submit it online. I submitted it as a Word document, which was the submission format, and I e-mailed a copy to myself at work. But when I got here today, and tried to open the document in Word, it was unreadable, all gobbledy-gook. I figure from that that my online submission is also unreadable. Well, yesterday was the deadline, so I'm out of luck.

Maybe by next year I will have MS Word on my Mac.

Monday, May 24, 2004

I feel like complaining---it's hot, the garden is growing too fast, there's too many bugs in the garden, I got bit by a microscopic deer tick yesterday, there's nothing to do at work, my car doesn't have air-conditioning, I'm hungry all the time, I want to paint, I need more money, my house is dirty, still afraid to spend money, even though I got a raise, there's never enough, blah, blah, blah.

On the other hand---I got to babysit for my friend's little girl last night, and we picked strawberries, drew a picture of Sable, ate a nice omelet that my husband prepared, and gathered eggs from the chickens. I also planted pumpkins. Also ran into Weight Watchers to get weighed, and have lost a total of 9.6 lbs in 5 weeks.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

I am such an eccentric. I got it into my head that I wanted to ride a bicycle to work. I live near the river, and there is a towpath that extends for 60 miles alongside the canal that is for the most part parallel to the river.

Last year the towpath was worked on, and the paths were made smoother, not tarmac, but fine grained pebbles or gravel, and it is much, much nicer to ride on than before, when it was mostly grass. Some kind of river animal would burrow and create tunnels just below the surface of the grass, so when we rode bikes along the towpath, it was just like constant riding over narrow speedbumps that you couldn't see, and it annoyed me no end. So much so we sold our mountain bikes, because we were never tempted to go out and ride.

So the other day, while I was waiting around for something to do at work, and of course, on the Internet, I happened to come across a "Bike to Work Day" web site for my area. So I signed up for it. That Bike to Work Day is this coming Friday, May 21.

A few days later I get a large package in the mail. Enclosed in the package is a large plastic water bottle with the logo of the organization, a bunch of small trail maps with many options for bike riding in the county, and a very large topographical county map. Also, a manual for bicycles, explaining how to repair tires, and fix other components. Also some kind of plastic envelope that I had no clue about, it looked like you would put your ID in it, maybe.

I told my husband what I was planning to do. He kind of looked at me like maybe I was a tiny bit crazy, and started to offer his opinions on the matter, but I was sure it was a do-able kind of thing. Later at work, I also shared with a co-worker about my plans, and she definitely told me I was crazy, so I figured maybe I needed to do a trial run.

On Sunday we got the bike, which was hanging upside down on hooks in the garage, down, and my husband put air in the tires, and checked the bike out, and made some repairs. Some part of the mechanism had gotten a bit bent, and he put it back.

And last night after I got home from work, he was sweet enough to drive me down to the towpath with the bicycle, and offered to meet me along the way at various points. My plan was to only ride to the second town downriver, thinking that it would take me about one hour. That way, I would know approximately how long it would take me to bicycle to work on the towpath, as I needed to time my entry into my workplace, so that I would be on time.

Of course, I didn't plan on the geese. I am slightly afraid of the geese (only the ones with the goslings, because they are ferocious protectors, and having been chased by geese--along with my husband, when we ventured too close, I wasn't about to risk having geese fly in my face. So the geese were on the towpath, of course, and I encountered geese every so often. I would come to a brake-squealing stop, and wave my arms, and make shusshing noises to get them to go down the embankmant of the towpath into the canal. Not too bad of a chore, but it happened a lot more than I would have wished for, and I spent quite a bit of time doing this.

Long story short, it took me twice as long to get to the first town as I thought it would, and I knew that I would never make it to the second one, as night was falling.

When I met up with my husband at the end of the ride, I admitted to him that I had to re-think my plan for Friday. He kindly offered to get up early and drive me to an embarkment point a lot further downriver, so that I would be on the bicycle approximately for one and a half hours, which at the rate I rode last night--8 or 9 miles an hour, would be about 12 miles away from work.

Humbling, but I am becoming more pragmatic as I get older, I think. But the ride itself was so beautiful, that I told him I thought we should resurrect another one of our bicycles, (we have two other battered ones) and the both of us would enjoy that ride I took last night. Aside from the geese, I encountered one fawn on the towpath, sighted other deer running off to the side, and was in some very beautiful areas, especially where the towpath veer quite a bit away from the road, and since I travel that road every day, had never seen what it was like in those areas of the canal and towpath.

Friday, May 14, 2004

It's Friday, got up a little later than I wanted, delivered some garden produce to a customer near work, came in early--nothing to do. No real work has landed on my desk in a week. Just little things. And to top off the slow week, a client is giving us a hard time about our pricing. Don't know where that is heading. I have general job anxiety, but I am trying to find solutions to some current administrative problems, but hard to really get motivated.

Don't know what to write about today--couldn't watch the news much this week.

I did some fifth step work with my AA sponsor the other night, still have a lot more to do on my life story--fifth step work.

But she gave me a lot of food for thought. What also came out was how I threw away a brilliant career when I was twenty-one, and in the throes of my drinking, how I sabotaged it and up until now have never fully recovered in the job category. Yes, I am making more money now than ever, even though I am about the median in this area in terms of salary, but I had been headed for a terrific career, and blindsided myself. Looking back, I couldn't have done it differently, and I am not feeling regret at all for anything that happened. Just have to look at it, and through continued step work, will keep moving forward, and anything hidden in my psyche that contributes to the feeling that "I am not enough," and that causes me to prove that to the world will, hopefully, be exposed and let go of, or removed by my higher power. And my experiences will benefit others, as it says in the literature.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Thanks to all who commented, Bill, Randy, Oldcatman, Butuki, on weight and weight loss. I can proudly say that I have lost almost 6 pounds in three weeks. But I am soooo hungry all the time. I drink lots of water, and eat raw vegetables and fruit for snacks, along with a bit of peanut butter, and some kefir (which I love).

I mentioned it at WW this evening, and the leader suggested that I have six small meals instead of three. That I might be hypoglycemic. So I may try that. She also mentioned carrying almonds for a snack. I am happy I lost a bit of weight. The best part is regaining my energy. I need energy for the garden (and just plain life!), but it was that I was too tired to work in the garden, and felt it to be such a burden, that drove me to WW in the first place. Plus the fact that my friend Julia lost 25 pounds, and she is lookin' good.

I missed the memorial service for Lou. I didn't get to a meeting after Tuesday last week, and the service was announced on Wed or Thurs. I also screwed up with my sponsor. She was supposed to meet me on Thursday to walk at lunchtime, and if I hadn't forgotten about that (and I was being taken out to lunch that day by two team members from a crazy-making project that we worked our butts off for) I would have found out from her. Plus, I decided on Thurs to take Fri off, as I needed to work in the garden, and the workload at my job had dried up to nothing.

Anyway, she told me today that over 200 people showed up for his service given by the AA members. His children and grandchildren were present, and I am so happy for that. Because they learned that Lou had affected so many people, and many of them gave testimony to that. They say it a lot at the meetings I go to, that we may be the only copy of the Big Book that some people get to see. I am proud of my group that gave their love to that family by revealing to them how much Lou meant by his presence and his personality to our AA group.

As far as the garden goes, I did get a lot direct-seeded this weekend, and about fourteen flats of seeds to germinat inside. I planted bell peppers in the greenhouse, and worked on my flower beds for fun!

Today I brought in six bags of salad greens plus some watercress, leeks, and kale and parsley for my co-workers. And some eggs. I am not going to drive myself crazy with the garden though, and since I got a raise, don't feel the pressure to expand. But at least I will get my gas paid for, and it is high right now.

One more thing--have been thinking of the army abuse scandal. I believe it is systemic, and that is because the military structure is formed on abuse. The soldiers are abused when they are trained, and some of them, like abused children, will in turn, abuse others. Also, the military needs to dehumanize the enemy, in order to better kill him. Mob psychology is at work, also. I heard on NPR that the pictures we saw were cropped, and there were crowds of soldiers around the periphery watching all the abuse. That egged on those who dared to behave immorally.

It is sickening, as war is sickening. Good for those with digital cameras. We need to see the truth, as unpalatable as it is. Thank God for the Internet, for technology, for all ways that people can expose those things that hurt us all. For they only grow in darkness. Brought to the light, they enlighten all.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Someone I knew from the rooms of AA killed himself last week. Lou was a genuine character--you had to notice his presence. He often wore clothes that could be called a costume. I remember when I first met him, over two years ago. He raised his hand at the meeting and said that he had no place to live, no place to stay. At the end of the meeting, I went up to him and offered him a room. He kind of did a double-take at first, and asked me where I lived. I live almost an hour away, and he declined, saying that it wouldn't work for him. He didn't have a car, and he did have a job, so he needed to be near his job. After that conversation, he always had a big hello and a hug for me.

Everyone is in pain now. Suicide is a shocking solution. Someone said yesterday that his death is still under investigation, that perhaps it wasn't suicide, but made to look like that. That makes me feel even worse, somehow.

I have many impressions of Lou. I don't think he let too many people in, if any. He had a child-like spirit, seemed to do a lot of service work at the group, chairing meetings, concerned about newcomers.

The last time I spoke with him, he told me that he had gotten his pension from a large pharmaceutical company, and that he was planning on starting some businesses. That was the last time I remember seeing him.

He said that he had over twenty years sober. There are rumors that some people smelled alcohol on him recently. Some one else mentioned steroids.

I will always remember him. I saw him two years in a row at my friend's New Year's Day party.

He drove the mules on the towpath for the tourists, along with driving a horse-drawn carriage, again for the tourist trade. He also did other things. Painting buildings, I think. I know he had friends. I know he held resentments, too.

Once, when I had joined the gym, I went there at lunchtime. He was there, asleep on one of the weight machines, a towel around his neck. I went over to him and gently poked him, and he woke up and we chatted briefly. He went into the men's locker room, and I got on the treadmill. Later, through the window, I saw him leave, nattily dressed in a long cashmere coat with a fedora pulled down over his eyes. He didn't notice me watching him. I think that that image is one that will stay with me a long time.

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