Tuesday, May 19, 2009


These are decidely tumultuous times...around the world, in this country, in this region....some of this has effected the lives of those I know personally and I'm sure we all have some stories to tell to this affect.

But I don't want to do that today.

I admit to being a rather anxious person, and at times it's an effort for me to remain calm and effective when the world I live in doesn't seem very grounded and solid. But somehow, with all these glorious signs of spring all around me, it's hard for me not to be cheerful at least some of the time.

I wish I could lay claim to this glorious bed of tulips, but they bloom in the yard of our neighbors cross the street. Erica, you've done an amazing job!

Helena has a magnetic attraction to them and wants to go walk along the path everytime we go outside. Thankfully, she's old enough to understand that we can't pick them. We spent probably 40 minutes just checking out the tulip bed on this glorious spring day.

We traded Helena's trike for a "big girl bike, " which she's become quite proficient at riding.

Garlic mustard (have no idea what it's scientific name is) grows like a weed in our yard. I learned last year that it was edible and I used it to top a delicious tart, the recipe from Amy at
Eggs on Sunday . If you haven't visited this amazing cooking blog I highly recommend it. She's a local Ithacan and uses fresh, seasonal items in amazing gourmet recipes, yum!

I used the garlic mustard as the topping instead of ramps...which I didn't have around. It turned out really great, and I like the idea of using weeds for food:-) It's quite tasty in salads and I've added to pastas as well.

We have these sweet little flowers blooming in our side yard...and my mom identified the plant as blood root, which has medicinal qualities. It does bleed a rusty color when you pick the blooms. My mom, who has studied herbalism extensively, is going to dig some up and transplant in her yard

Princess Petunia, Helena's "best puppet friend" (a topic which deserves it's own post sometime) got to tip toe through our tulips. We have a small bulb bed. I got ambitious last fall and bought 90 bulbs to plant in the bed in front of our house....but after digging up several pieces of slate that were roughly 12" x 12" x 4" I downsized my ambitions and ended up with about 15 tulips and roughly the same number of hyacinths.

Some other friends enjoyed our flower garden as well.

Violets, also edible, bloom profusely this time of year. Helena and I have pressed a few. We need to get or make a proper flower press.

We've finally passed our last frost date (May 15), and although it frosted for the last two nights, the 10 day weather report promises night time temps of 45 and higher, so our garden starts go in this week...tomatoes, basil, oregano....pasta sauce in the ground! Also cucs, peppers, squash and lettuce over the next few weeks as they get a bit bigger.

My kale has been in the ground about a month and I can start harvesting some soon. Radishes, carrots and sweet onions are all poking up. We're going to plant more seeds too...corn, winter squash, maybe a few others. This is a very ambitious garden for me, but once we get everything in I think I can keep up with the weeding and occasional watering that may be needed. The canning I'm less confident about, but I bought a pressure canner this winter off craigslist and tons of jars, so here's hoping!

I'll try to get some garden photos up soon...and the lilacs are blooming now...I have photos on my camera of those!

Happy Spring!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Spring is the season for change

for our little family....

Patrick, after negotiating for about a month, finally signed a deal memo Monday and began a new job Tuesday, as an energy auditor trainer. I'll explain more about what that is another day.

This is huge change for our family. This is the first regular, full time job I think that Patrick has had in our 15 years together, aside from a fairly regular bartending schedule (at night, of course) some 12 or so years ago. There are benefits, there is a fairly consistent schedule. Quite frankly, it's a little weird for me.

I think it's going to be a very positive change for our family in the long run...that is my want for us. In the short run, for the next year, at any rate, he will be traveling about 75% of the time.
Helena is less than pleased with this prospect. Our trial run this week, while he traveled for just 3 days, was emotional for her...she missed daddy at bed time, missed daddy in the mornings, and wanted to put some of his things away so she wouldn't be reminded of missing him and had a very hard time being left with her grandparents, an adventure she usually relishes weekly. The 3rd day we settled in and she was more herself, it was my day off, and we had a lovely day together. Then he came home and it was a joyful reunion. I expect it will be quite different for her, and me too, when he leaves for 2-3 weeks at a time.

I have incredibly mixed feelings about the whole change in our lives. On the one hand, the idea of medical benefits and a regular paycheck that I can budget to is very appealing. Direct deposit, even!

On the other hand, I feel, in a weird sort of way, like a mother whose child is about to leave the nest. Our relationship has had a lot of that flavor, maybe because of the relatively unstable childhood home life Patrick had compared to mine, perhaps because he is the youngest child in his family and I am the oldest in mine, we've gravitated toward those roles. Whatever the reason, it has been an uneasy element in our relationship for both us, I think. He has half wanted half resented the mothering I've tried to give him, which, especially since the birth of Helena, I have very little energy left for and have resented myself.

He shows a strong desire, for maybe the first time since I've known him, to truly learn to care for himself and take good care of himself, and I'm optimistic about his ability to do so. And oddly, I think this intense travel schedule will be helpful in allowing him the space to learn to care for himself while giving me some physical distance from our relationship so that I can learn to let him go to take care of himself, which after so many years has to be a conscious effort for me.

So on the one hand I'm excited about the relative financial stability in our lives while mourning the loss of scheduling freedom we've grown very accustomed to. I'm relishing the space to claim some space for myself and relearn how to be in my marriage in a healthier way, and on the other hand, I'll miss him, Helena will miss him, and I'm rather stressed about how to handle the details of our lives for the most part on my own, while still's rental season, the apartments have to be shown on the weekends even when all I want to do is stay home and hang with my little girl, we have a final apartment to renovate which I will be, at least to some extent, coordinating, seeking financing for, etc...

So for the moment, I'm seeking the balance between loving and separating, rest and work and work and work, supporting without smothering, and finding some space for the solitary pieces of me that still ache for attention while I care for my precious daughter.