filling in the blanks

I haven't done one of these in awhile and I don't have any new projects to write about, so I thought I'd do this short questionnaire that I saw on another blog recently.

1. When do you feel happiest? When I'm laying on the beach with Seth. Or better yet, when I'm jumping waves in the ocean with Seth. I don't know if its the sound of the waves crashing that drowns out my usual thoughts of to-do lists and worries, or if its being away from telephones/computers/bills on the fridge, but there's something about being at the ocean that makes all my cares go away. But since I only get to the beach for about 1 week out of each year, luckily there are things that make me happy too...spending face-to-face time with people that I love, taking the first bite out of a meal I just prepared and realizing that it is delicious, and working on and completing a project like this or this because it is a challenge and gives me a sense of purpose.

2. How do you take care of yourself? Right now the #1 thing I do to take care of myself is eat well: lots of whole grains and beans, organic veggies and fruit, and very little dairy or meat. Sometimes I get overwhelmed trying to eat the right things and get the right about of B vitamins! and iron! and leafy greens! etc. etc., but luckily I have people to remind me that I can only do so much and getting stressed about eating healthy enough is counterproductive.

3. Are you internally or externally motivated? Internally, 100% (or 1,000,000% as Randy Jackson would say). If someone else tells me I need to do something, not only will I not do it, I'll probably do the opposite. But if I make the decision to do something, there's no stopping me. I've been that way since I was a kid, much to my parents' chagrin.

4. What do you do for fun? Go out for Mexican food. Seth and I are currently trying to scale back a little on our Senor Taco addiction...their margaritas and salsa bar are so irresistible that when a friend asked me if they put crack in their food because I was craving it so much, I honestly started to wonder if they did. I also love to cook new and exciting veggie/vegan meals, go on road trips (esp. out west), kayak down the Nantahala River, and watch movies that I love over and over. I think its interesting how my list of things I do for fun has changed over the years.

5. What intimidates you? Trying to make conversation with someone I don't know well, poaching eggs, and picking a career path. I've tried and tried but I just can't seem to do any of those things! The idea of planting a garden used to intimate me but not anymore :)

6. What is something you are proud of? I paid off $15,000 worth of credit card debt. It was really hard and took forever, but I did it! And the whole experience turned me into a freakishly frugal person so hopefully I will never let that happen again.

7. Finish the sentence: I never...want to feel like a grown up, no matter how old I live to be.

8. Favorite vacation spot? The beach, but only when its out of season and there are hardly any other people there. I also love driving out west for vacations (New Mexico, Utah).

9. Today is a (rate from 1 to 10): 6. Nothing too exciting has happened today, but nothing bad has happened either. And my health is good and its nice outside, and I'm cooking one of my favorite things for dinner tonight, so I can't complain.

10. Finish the sentence: If you knew me really well you'd know...I tend to be one way or another, no in between. I'm either $15k in debt or I'm a cheapskate. I'm eating McDonald's every day and sporting an I ♥ McDonald's bumper sticker on my car (gross, I know) or I'm eating kale/quinoa/bean hippie bowls for dinner every night and telling everyone they should see Food, Inc. (which is showing on PBS tonight! check it out!). I've got long hair down my back or its super short. I couldn't change that even if I wanted to, but I like being this least I always know where I stand.

And that's it! I would tag some friends to do this too but they all quit updating their blogs years ago. Somehow, amazingly, I'm still hangin' on.

Our first garden

Well, we did it! We finally planted our first garden. I've said I wanted to do this every year since we bought the house, but every year I get intimidated and put it off too long and then its too late. But not this year! I got more intimidated than ever because I researched waaaay too much and it was really overwhelming. The internet is great but sometimes the information overload can be paralyzing. Last weekend I spent 2 hours watching how-to videos and was just about to give up the idea of a garden, but Seth gave me a pep talk and his confidence that we could do it was just what I needed. I ran out to Lowes for a mattock and a hoe and we got started 45 minutes later.

First we picked our spot and started tilling up the ground that was already there. I'd say we went down about a foot or so.

And let me just say that tilling without a tiller is HARD. I think the last time I was that sore and worn out was when we refinished the hardwood floors. But its also totally doable! Its a lot more work but you also don't have to figure out a way to get a rented tiller to and from your house, and it is cheaper too. The mattock and the hoe cost a total of $30, and we'll have those tools to use on future gardens and other yard projects for years to come.

The next thing we did was get the dirt out of the hole and mix it with several bags of compost mix (I don't have a picture of that). We put that mixture back in the ground and then covered it all with this mesh stuff that's supposed to keep the weeds from coming up. You just cut an X through it when you're putting the plants in the ground.

The next thing we did (on day 3...this was not a 1 day process by any means) was plant! Finally the fun part. I put in broccoli, onions, tomatoes, and left a spot for either a zucchini or squash plant. The marigolds around the perimeter are to keep the bunnies and squirrels away. Plus they look pretty :)

Seth dug up a bunch of large rocks that were around our shed to create a raised bed, then he added a bunch more potting soil on top of everything. He also dug up some old wire fencing that was in the way back of the yard and put that around the garden too...just extra deterrent for the critters.

We planted some herbs too, but because there wasn't enough room in the garden, they went into pots. We've got dill, cilantro, basil and sage.

And there you have it! Even though we haven't gotten to use anything out of the garden yet, it has already been such a rewarding experience for me. It was great to work with my hands and be out in the sun...and I just know its going to be an even better feeling when I pull out my first veggie and cook dinner with it. I can't wait! I also know that its not all going to work but that's okay too. This is a learning experience and I'll be that much more prepared for next year. I'm already planning to do a garden double this size in 2011 :)