Monday, July 22, 2019

Worm Composting Amusement

Worm composting is fascinating. (Book recommendation- Worms Eat My Garbage!) It’s fun to see what they eat and what they leave behind. I find it makes me increasingly conscious of what is biodegradable, and just how long that takes for anything to break down let alone my waste from daily living. It’s fun to see which foods they like (they are loooooving strawberries tops and any berries that are getting away from me in ripeness.)

Fun experiments include burying a to-go cup. The worms will eat all the paper off the thin plastic liner. The thin plastic liner is one meant to be broken down at a professional composting site and you can see it at the bottom of the photo below. I feel like in less than three weeks time my worms did pretty well! I put it back for them to break down the rest. 

This week was one of my first big harvests of compost sans students. I was surprised at the number of stickers I ended up with. They eat all the banana bits, the avacado bits etc. (I think those are the only things that go in with a peel.) and all that’s left is the sticker. 
Tea is also fun. The worms like it. On any given day I can find a tea bag in the worm bin, tear it open and find a little nest of worms inside enjoying their tea. There’s one fancy tea company that has a plastic sided label and a really slow to break down bag. I’m wondering if it’s silk? Another tea brand used to use staples either to hold the bag to the string or the string to the tag. Either way they’re funny to find. A worm is often tangled up with them when I find them. Now I use staple-less tea bags if I’m not having loose leaf tea. 
This is the first year really having significant compost for my plants. I put some at the base of every plant I put in the ground in June and they seem to be thriving. I’m not going to lie that gives me a thrill. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Hold Discomfort

When I was a kid, if we said we were unhappy about something, mom’s response was “You should write a letter.” Dont like your circumstances? Take action. Do something differently. I’m grateful for this now. I’d like to think it has made me an active participant in life rather than a bystander. 

However, there is one area where this circumstance changing, action taking might not be helpful. Grief and discomfort. I’ve now read several books (and am chewing my way through Rising Strong) that discuss completing the grieving process, sitting with the grief and going through it not around it, sitting in discomfort so that you might face it head on and “rise strong.” 

But it’s so. Uncomfortable.  
And interestingly it means allowing myself to simply be. It means that maybe,  this time, I need to not take action. 

I currently still experience deep grief at the death of my mother. But if I stayed busy, got married, got my teaching credential, moved, got my masters...that grief, that discomfort would stay abreast. I feel grief and discomfort at the loss of my partner and the shift in the dynamic of other relationships as a result. But I had my masters to finish. A school year to finish. I had trips.  Taught extended school year. I read books. Books to help me understand myself and to know myself and others. Actions to take to change or improve my circumstances. 

But these actions seem to have impeded my cycle completion. 

How do I hold discomfort or sit with grief when my instinct says so strongly to get away, to change my circumstances. 

Is it possible to be intentional about doing nothing. Intentional about just being? What does that look like? How does that sound? If you have ideas or have insight to processing this I value your thoughts. 

Thursday, May 23, 2019


So with strong being on my mind it can’t have been accidental that I received a text message from the great and wonderful Ruthie. “Do you feel just a little bad ass with all your willpower?” 
It made me stop and think a minute. 
You know what? I do! 

That. Shifted my whooooole day. I felt like I could conquer all the things. 

I want to draw that. I want to draw the bad assert and will power. 

But woah what does it look like. 

A google image search “badass woman” brings back a slew of women in body suits with guns that go click click when you slide the thing up and down the barrel. Or whatever.

***added at 9:24 pm
A google doctionary search says a badass is a tough, uncompromising, or intimidating person. 

Oooh do I shy away from those? Do I see negative connotation? 
Tough? No. Tough is good.
Uncompromising. Sometimes compromise is necessary. In some cases one ought not yield. This was one of those times. 
Intimidating. Hmmmm. Truth can be intimidating. Hard experiences can be intimidating. Unknowns can be intimidating. Some might find a strong, educated, spoken (not always out or well) woman intimidating. Let me bring them in with my actions. With my love for others. With my good intent. With my hope. 

***returning to original broadcast. 

The hashtag on Instagram brings on a slew of beautiful women of all body types ready to take on the world. 

But why is badassery made iconic in a body? When I watch movies which women make me go yaaaaas and want to cheer. 

*end game spoiler 

That intentional scene from End Game with al the women? You know which one. 

When Molly Weasley tells Belatrix “Not my daughter...” and proceeds toward badassery. 

Minerva McGonagall. In all the things. 

The women of  Wakanda. 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Have you seen On the Basis of Sex?

Legally Blonde when Elle Woods says “What, like it’s hard?”

The breakthrough moments in Hidden Figures. 

Hmmmmmm this list is growing. Maybe I see feminine badassery more than I think. Maybe, it’s more important than I knew to name it. To call it out in other women so that they are also reminded that they have it. That it runs deep in their veins. 

Maybe badassery the notion of conquering. Triumphing. Getting to the top?
A trophy. A mountain?

But also with this notion of a force to be reckoned with.
Hell hath no fury....
Are flames the icon of a badass woman? Waves with their unyielding crash. 
Or the tree growing from the crack in a rock on the side of a cliff. Persistent. 

What to you is the icon of a badass woman?

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

What happened to my strong?

Let me start off with this, yellow popcorn tastes different from white popcorn. At this minute it tastes more....corn on the cob-y. I don’t know how I feel about this but I’m craving all the salt I can get and since I’ve been salt deficient quite a bit this year I’m going with it. 

Now...about strong. 

I have always viewed myself to be a relatively strong, relatively independent woman. I can do...and have done hard things. Which is not to say they need to be done on ones own but I’ve never been ?afraid? of them?  Or maybe I have but I see the past through rose colored glasses. 

Lately though, I’ve been wondering where that went. It’s a boggling cyclical inner dialogue. A round about of sorts. And I’m still looking for my exit. 

I started reading Rising Stong by Brene Brown. A gift from a dear friend who knew I’d need a good bucketfull of strong. 

Oi. Vulnerability. Yes. “The only path to more love, belonging and joy” with the downside of “stumble, fall, and get your ass kicked.”  Today I feel like I’m sitting on the ground after a fell on my face on the stairs fall. Not sure if I’m steady enough to get up. Not sure what I’m going to do when I do get up. I have so many options it’s paralyzing. I have enough experiences to feel strongly about what I want. Thought enough humility to know that what I want is rarely what I need. Except in the case of salt.

The theme of Rising Strong, as instroduced in the introduction is “Fall. Get up. Try again.” 

Oof. Okay. I’m hearing it. 

Through vulnerable experiences I have experienced a whole lotta big love. I think that’s why I like blogging. It’s a whole lotta out there...but it’s lead to some awesome relationships and has been a great Avenue for conversation starting. 

I try to write and share my experiences for several reasons. One reason is because it’s good to remember where I’ve been. Another is because it’s a way to invite other people to join my journey. Because sometimes I don’t know I need people until their kind words lift me on a hard day. Because sometimes someone might need to know that life is not “Facebook perfect.” Because sometimes someone might need to know that there is and can be good. 

There’s a conversation about failure in the book. When initially drafting I wanted to talk about experiencing a failed marriage. The thought of writing “when I failed at marriage” caused me to recoil. Is it my failure if my partner declined all wilingness and desire to solution seek? I pursued all solutions. It’s not MY failure. 
Except it was. I took a risk on commitment, parntership, and love. It failed. My venture failed. As Brene (were on a first name basis in my head) says “failing is painful. It fuels the ‘shouldas and couldas’ which means judgment and shame are often lying in wait.” 

While I’m happy to have loved and lost the wind has been knocked out of me. 

I still grieve the loss of a partner of many years. Where there was a person who got all your things, a person you enjoyed making dinner for, or helping out in odd ways there is now a void. 

I am anxious to fill that familiar void with a person. But really not just any person. My person. 
The person I can sit and chat with about all the things. The important things like Harry Potter, Pok√©mon, the semantics around the title Superhero, and compost worms. The person who enjoyed a good meal as much as I do. The person who smells so good I can’t stay away. Not cologne good and not that other people smell bad but like biochemistry come hither good. I can’t describe it but I know it when it’s there. 

Alas, I am struggling between feeling hurt and acting hurt, between feeling disappointed and acting disappointed. I want to approach pain and grief with the efficiency of meeting with a school counselor. Is this a two year plan? What is the procedure. Which classes should I take? What books will I need to read. As if accolades and achievements could somehow accelerate or abate this process. 

Brene talks about how “once we fall in the service of being brave we can never go back” and “this change often brings a deep sense of loss.” Do you ever read stuff and think “Thaaaaaat. Thaaaat is what I’m feeling. Daaaaang how’d they know?”

I’ve pondered what it could mean to go back. Back to places I’ve been. Where did I feel safe. Does that still exist? Most resoundedly no. Home where I grew up no longer exists as it did. Other places that felt comfortable before might have felt so through the context of my former partnership. The only way out is forward but in which direction? I feel paralyzed and yet I feel compelled to take action. The epitome of an internal conflict. 

Oddly it feels good to send all that out into the world. 
Yes, I realize it’s scattered, disorganized and unedited. Let me extend my appreciation for your understanding.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Snow Drama and the Story of How My Shoveling Game is Coming Apart

I didn’t know I could grow to have stronger dislike of snow. I have. Like possibly turn the the good guy villain feelings of dislike toward snow. My shoveling game has taken a turn for the worse. 

In the picture above: 
The red arrow is how far my neighbor shoveled to clear off the sidewalk I neglected. 
The green arrow is how far I got pushing snow out of the the way before I gave up for that session. 
The blue arrow is the snow I pushed out of the way and had not gotten off the driveway because I had not yet developed snow flinging skills. 
The yellow arrow points or the tire tracks from when I went to get a haircut after I got to the green arrow and quit. 
The black arrow points to where the icicles (I’ve never had icicles like this.) are dripping (and falling) onto my driveway. 

That night I gritted my teeth to clear it in an attempt to make roomate’s low car a possible entrance to the garage. 

Green arrow: How far down the driveway I got.  Almost to the street. 
Blue Arrow: Sidewalk clear. Ours and our wall sharing neighbor’s. 
Yellow arrow: Did not get all the way over onto my side of the driveway. I have a higher car. And all wheel drive. Thaaaaanks dad! :)
Red Arrow: Developed the ability to fling snow over the growing wall next to my drive way. As Trainer Natalie says: activate your core!!! I did. 

Prepare for dismay folks. Now. I’m about to share with you what my driveway looked like the following morning:

What. The. Heck. When I opened the door to let Rico out roomate A said she could hear me yell a great big “aaaaaaaaugh!” from upstairs. 

I offered to take her to her classes and you better believe we drove right. Over. That. Snow. 

As we were loading up in the garage I hollered at nice lady neighbor up the road “I’ll probably have the gumption to do this after school.” 

I made eye contact with the neighbor whose driveway and sidewalks were already clear. With my eyes I dared him to say something passive aggressive about my snow shoveling. You know the same look you give the misbehaving kid in an assembly from across the room that makes them peacefully and immediately drop what they’re doing. 

On the bright side...the sun came out that afternoon and I shoveled the snow that was still in the sun. :)

Monday, February 25, 2019

The Current State on Snow

It’s official. I’m done with winter. Let’s be honest, I was done with winter before it started. Snow CAN be lovely from inside a living room in a robe and pajamas. But really, this winter has too much snow. Not enough light getting through to my seasonally affected system. Not enough snow days. I have however, learned some things and developed some strategies. 

1.) The shovel makes a difference. 

The large grey shovel pictured below is excellent for essentially plowing snow off a sidewalk or driveway. I have learned that, as a short, muscle deficient individual, it is not excellent for lifting snow above a berm that has formed along said driveways and sidewalks. But. As my neighbor Tyler says enthusiastically “that thing can move snow!”

The red shovel is my neighbors. It’s relatively light and is a great snow pusher. You can tell the pushers because they don’t have a deep scoopy bucket. 

The clear shovel is a lifter. It’s light weight and has been excellent for shoveling pushed snow up and over berms to keep the snow piles from creeping onto our driveway. 

2.) Have neighbors who are the best. It’s fantastic to have the co-op we have going in that we sort of take turns clearing all the driveway and sidewalk. We leave all the shovels on the front porch so that whichever residents are shoveling can have access to the optimal shovel. 

 Having great neighbors  means you’re never shoveling as deep of snow, and you’ve already got all the gear on anyway. Also their adorable sister black labs come out and say hi every time. 

3.) Beware the plows, who, when clearing out streets so kindly block your driveway with snow and slush that promptly turns to solid. Ice. 

4.) When you grill, make venn diagrams in the snow with the hot lid. 

5.) Don’t forget to shovel a space for the canine. His body is small and legs are short.  He is best suited for summer. He is not well suited for snow. 

6.) Remember the days when this trail has no ice and fluttering green leaves. 

Anyway, this California transplant is using the happy lamp, has programmed light switches, is gym-ing mostly regularly, tanning, and avoiding driving. Rico is stir crazy. The kids are going nuts and the sickness is going around. I might be in survival mode. Pray for me. It’s snowing as I write. More snow predicted for tomorrow. 

But summers here are looooovely.  Sigh. 

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Let’s Start a Conversation: Menstrual Cups

As trainer Natalie says: “We have these fantastic bodies and we have no idea how to use them.”
As I’ve been discovering this year, she’s absolutely right. So. Meet My New Series: Let’s Start a Conversation. 

Today we’re talking menstrual cups. 
I posted videos on my Instagram account (@MyThirdThings) sharing information I have and shared three different products: Diva CupLena Cup, and Lunette. I was pleased and surprised by how many views I got, people learned something new, and great conversations were started. By request I have “highlighted” them on my Instagram feed.

Relevant comments I thought I’d share:
“I like the taco fold because the aggressive pop open let’s me know it’s in place.” -Tanya B.
“My cup experiences have left intense pressure on my bladder, Thinx underwear is a good alternative.” -Becca H. @Beccawith_the_goodhair (If anyone has good information regarding this I’d love to pass it on.)
“Love Lena! Wouldn’t use anything else!” -Devinne S. @mondaymorningmedia
“Tell everyone the discoloration is normal. It [the cup] can still be clean and discolored. I thought I was cleaning mine wrong.” -A
“Toxic shock syndrome is not exclusive to menstruation....”    (I’m not an expert but am learning more and gathering information. Men can get it too. Gauze in open wounds. It’s caused by bacteria with a long name.) -A&J

More resources:
If you’re 18 or older, Oh Joy has an informational comic with useful diagrams sharing about using XO Flo Cup that I find informative.