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March 2011

OH SPRING, COME HERE I WANT TO GIVE YOU A BIG FAT KISS ON THE LIPS

Blooming Flowers
Lavender
Bulbs
Front Yard

The thing I love most about the very beginning of spring is how suddenly you're filled with possibility. Watching bulbs you planted in the fall turn into breathtaking flowers right in your own front yard feels downright sinful. I look out my window and I see my climbing roses entering their third summer and I know this is the year where I actually know what I'm doing. Where I look at their long thorny arms and I can see exactly where the new buds are sprouting and for a change I'm not worried they wont be healthy. I know they're healthy. I can visualize how full of life they'll be in just a few months and I can't believe that three summers ago the foot tall dead looking twigs I planted have bloosomed under my care. 

Spring reminds me of all the things that are so damn corny about life. It's so cliché, but I can't help but find the world an amazing place when you're a 'gardener' in the springtime. 

 

 

Take this bush in the front yard for example. Someone coming to my front door might turn their head to the right and spot what appears to be a dead bundle of twigs. 

IHydrangea
But you see, I look at that bush and I see magic. Because I know what they don't. That it is coming back to life. 

Coming Back To Life

Owning this house has been so very difficult at times. I've had nights where I wished we'd never made this leap into home-ownership. And then spring happens and I realize how much this house has changed me. How much I've learned about coaxing life out of seeds, dirt, sun and water, and I love this house so deeply I never want to leave it. 

I moved to Olympia the first weekend of March in 2009. On April 7th 2009 I posted two pictures of the flowers I had planted in the pots framing my garage. I had owned them for two weeks and I was flabergasted and amazed that they were not only alive, but thriving.

This past weekend I walked through the garden store like an old pro. Selecting soil, natural fertilizer, and telling Adam which flowers I wanted to purchase now, and which I knew wouldn't be available for a few weeks. Explaining which house plant would thrive in our office, and which would die. I tilled my soil, made garden rows, seeded my cold weather veggies and felt... confident. 

A few springtimes later, this once confused gardening wannabee feels like a super hero.

It's still only a training cape, but a cape none the less.  

 


THE PART WHERE I FINALLY EXPLAIN WHAT I WAS DOING WITH ALL THOSE EGGS!

Sorry, I got all excited and wanted you to guess what I was doing with these eggs, and then I didn't do the project. Making the whole guessing game post a little premature. 

This weekend though I finally got my act together and now I can let those of who who guessed "gardening" know that you were indeed, correct! 

HIGH FIVES THROUGH THE COMPUTER TO ALL OF YOU! 

 

Last year I bought one of those seed starter kits with the little soil pods and it was extremely easy to use, but it was a little costly, and I had weird results with things like my carrots as I've mentioned before. Also, I really wanted to see if I could start my plants this year the cheapest way possible AND the most environmentally friendly. I'm still finding the little cheese cloth casings from last years seed starters in my garden! 

A little research led me to the option of using eggshells for seed starters and I was hooked. 

So here we go. I am now going to breakdown the process of making eggshell seed starters, and I warn you, this is long. But informational! Like that time I told you how to build a garden

Here goes nothing! 

 

 

 

First thing you need are some eggs. And the dedication to eat meals containing mostly eggs for the next couple years. This entire process is slow and tedious, so if that sort of thing bothers you, buy the seed starter kit. 

Here is a quick video on how to take your raw eggs and extract the goods inside, while also making sure to preserve your shell for your seedlings. 

 

It took me about a month of quiche and omelets before I had as many eggs as I needed for my first round of seeds. I could have been more dedicated and ate strictly eggs for two weeks, but I was worried I'd never want to eat another egg again so we took our sweet time.

I am going to have to rebuild up my eggshell stash here for my second round of spinach and lettuce seeds, and then ANOTHER batch for my summer veggies as well. 

That is a LOT of eggs people. Be prepared. 

 

Once you have all your eggs you'll need to assemble the following. 

  • Cleaned eggshells
  • Organic (ok, not true, but I recommend you get organic!) potting soil OR seed starter. I couldn't find seed starter like I wanted, so I went with potting soil. 
  • Sharpie
  • Knife
  • Seeds
  • Something to contain the shell and dirt mess if you're doing this inside 
  • Sunset Magazine, not required, but highly recommended reading!

Seedlings

Take your first shell and break away the opening to make it slightly larger. You don't want a little pin sized opening because it wont allow the seedlings to get enough light. Once your opening is larger, use your knife to poke a drain hole in the bottom of the shell. 

Eggshell

Next take your eggshell and fill it nearly to the top with soil. You need to have room to add the 1/4" of cover dirt that will go over your seeds. 

Fill Eggshells
Set aside, and then rinse, lather, and repeat. I warn you, from the care it takes to open and wash and then store each shell, to the tedious nature of this seeding process if you are someone who is a little A.D.D., step away from this project RIGHT NOW. Just warning you. 

Eventually you'll have filled all your shells. This will feel like a major accomplishment and I recommend you have someone around to high five you.  

Filled with Dirt

Once you have all your shells filled with dirt you can add your seeds. I put 2-4 seeds in each shell. Except for the one I took a picture of here where I got a little overly excited and added a million seeds. I will be needing to thin out this badboy for sure. 

seeds
Do this seeding step a zillion times. 

Once all your shells have seeds in them, grab a pinch of dirt (packets always say 1/4", I just do a pinch and call it a day) and cover all your seeds. Next I took my sharpie and wrote on my eggs so I'd know in the planting process exactly what was growing in each egg. Added benefit to eggshell starters! 

Seedlings
Onion Seedlings
Flowers
Spinach

Next you want to water these little guys. Seed starter kits have you soak the soil disks in warm water before you begin seeding, so following that idea you COULD pre-soak your soil in warm water before filling your shells, but I thought that would make a mess times 7,000 and so I skipped it. Here's to hoping something still grows. 

You don't want to drown your seedlings and have the seeds inside the shells shift around too much, but you also need to make sure this first watering is a good one. I used the water filling device from our floor steamer to enable me to have a very controlled small stream of water so I didn't drown out one particular egg. 

watering the eggs
Lastly I cut off the top of the egg carton container to make it more compact for my windowsill, placed the seed starters in a western facing window (I learned from my moldy seds!) and stepped back to admire my hard work that was WEEKS in the making. 

Finished Seeds

To keep my seeds moist I have a spray bottle I keep in the office, and once the top of the soil seems to be drying out I'll give all these guys a healthy spritz of water. Also, the great thing about using eggs is if you see that one of your shell walls is too high and possibly blocking out light you can just break off a little shell wall and instantly improve the conditions of your seeds. 

When these are ready (these are my cold weather seeds like spinach, lettuce, onions, and spring flowers) you can dig your transplant holes, give the shell a squeeze to add some cracks to the shell and plop it in the ground! 

You now have organic seed starters that took a bunch of time to make, but didn't cost you hardly a thing and will be good for your garden and the environment. 

There you have it. May you all go forth and spread the hippie organic gardening love to you and yours! 

 

 


 

Babies

 


HOW DID YOU KNOW?

My lovely Kelly (sounds like I own her doesn't it?) recently posted her findings on a personality test that she said was slightly different than most because it asked you to define meanings of shapes instead of answer textual based questions. 

She was perplexed by the response she got, and I thought to myself, "Hell, who isn't interested in a personality test that asks you to define shapes?" 

Here is what it told me. 

"Though quiet on the outside, you are often the hidden hero; someone who rushes in when needed and then after the emergency is over fades back into the woodwork. Because of this sense of duty and honor, you can also on occasion be rigid in your viewpoint and unyielding in the face of other ways of thinking. Usually cynical and rarely trusting of others, you maintain a small set of intimate friends. These bonds are stronger than most. You are always grounded in the present moment. Your close bonds can also lead to clique-ishness and a tendency to gossip about those who are deemed less worthy. You are an integrative thinker, collecting data from a wide range of sources and applying it to your worldview. You can become overly task-oriented. In stressful situations you often withdraw from the world to seek peace in contemplation. You often seem cold and withdrawn. Often you will withdraw rather than verbalize your discontent."

 

Excuse me shape personality test, get out of my head. 

How in the world did this test determine by asking me which shape I thought looked more scary than the other that I have a very small by close group of friends? That I am CRAZY task lady? That people who meet me think I am cold and withdrawn? That when I'm stressed I close in on myself? That I can be WAY pig headed? That I am "save the world" emergency responder lady?

HOW DID IT KNOW THAT? 

Take the test.

Tell me if it got it right. 

I am seriously intrigued right now... 


TO ALL WHO THINK I AM A COMPETENT GARDENER

Mold seeds
Behold my moldy seedlings. 

I mean, there are a few seedlings actually growing in there, and I think they'll be able to pull through, but I think it's also very apparent that I am currently growing more mold in this container than I am oregano. 

My problem with gardening? 

Directions. Rules. Doing things the right way. 

Because this little package of "kitchen herbs" that was all self contained with the seed box and the pots, the soil and the seedlings told me SPECIFICALLY to place my little seed babies in a western or southern facing window.

So, I placed them in an eastern facing window. Because I'm stubborn. 

And then I grew mold. 

Smelling defeat, I finally moved the moldlings to a western facing window, AS ORIGINALLY DIRECTED, and wouldn't you know it, there are now seedlings growing around all my mold. 

 

 

I'm telling you, if you can't follow directions this gardening shit will become very hit or miss. 

The fact I grew anything edible last summer is still very shocking to me. 


GULLIBLE IS WRITTEN ON THE CEILING

The other day I am doing my thing, and I get an email. This email says it is from a woman at an ad agency who has a client that would like to purchase an ad on my blog. This email called out my blog by name and provided the url. This email did not name the ad agency, nor did it link to the client in question who was interested in taking out an ad on my site. The rep asked me to email her back if I had space available and would like to hear more about her client interested in giving me money. 

Now, yes, it was fishy because this email came to my personal email address, which is not listed on my website in the contact section. So, I was a wee bit confused as to how this person knew to ask about the Accidental Olympian ad space, to my personal email. 

But, and here's the catch, I am a greedy little fucker who was very very very interested in seeing if this person was actually interested in paying me money to place an ad on my site. 

I mean, I'M HUMAN. 

 

 

I reply to this person asking for the website of her client so I can see if they fit, I tell her the cost for a 120x120 ad. Which I of course totally made up and wasn't sure if she'd bite anyway. 

I hit send. 

And then my ENTIRE contact list got spammed with a penis enlargement email. 

Then gmail kicks me out and says something "suspicious" is happening to my email. 

I have to verify myself using my cell, and some special password thing, and sign back in with a new password. 

And proceed to get text messages and emails from friends being like, "Ashley hun, you got hacked. OR, you recently went into business selling penis enlargements. Either way something is wrong here." 

Then I tried to send a mass email to all my contacts being like, "Don't open the spam!" but gmail thought I was still a tricky hacker, so it threw me out again and I am not sure anyone got my "don't open the penis email." It's highly likely someone in my contacts is just as stupid as I am and clicked the link. 

I hope they enjoy their larger penis. 

 

 

I seem to have issues with mass emails. Or spammers. Or hackers for that matter. 

In college I fell victim to one of those emails that says it is your bank asking for you to confirm your account information but is actually an asshole who takes your bank online info and then signs into your account and steals all your money. 

Yes, THAT WAS FUN! 

So I have all these protections now on my credit, a special password on my social security number, and when I want to open an account or get a loan I get a call from the secret police and I have to answer all these crazy questions to make sure I'm not those ass hats who took my info back in college. 

Man that is still an awesome reminder of how stupid I can be. 

I also spammed my entire gmail account last year with a dorky goodreads invitation, so add on the penis enlargement scam I think we can deduct that I am an idiot, and greedy. 

 

 

Basically, the moral of this story is that I will fall for anything, and you should all probably target me for some weird internet scam telling me that I won a cruise trip to Mexico, but to get my tickets I first have to give you my bank account information, the keys to my house, the title for my car, and then meet you in a dark alley so you can kill me with a shiv. 

Because I'll totally fall for it. 

What can I say? 

I've never been to Mexico before. 


WHO KNEW YOU COULD PULL YOUR MIDDLE BOOB WHILE BOARDING

I was going to give you a detailed account on what exactly I'm doing with these puppies, but then my sister and I went snowboarding.

And then I woke up the next morning and realized that I haven't worked out in over three months and that every single muscle in my body suddenly hates me and I could hardly sit upright, let alone follow through with my eggtastic plans.

 


Please tell me what part of snowboarding requires me to use the muscles between my boobs. When turning? Getting on and off the lift? While hanging out in the bar? 

Also, who knew you could pull the muscle under your jaw, from snowboarding. Turns out you most definitely can. And when you do, it will suddenly become very hard to hold your head up all the way. 

The only thing I can conclude from all these weird sore muscles is that either A. I am really really really really out of shape, or B. I look like a dying chicken while boarding which is why I managed to injure my jaw and middle boob while snowboarding. 

Jury is still out. 

 

 

In the meantime, enjoy this video. I had a fancy shmancy HD helmet camera with me that died about three runs into our trip. Meaning our only footage was us on the warm up hills. Which makes us look like lame sauce sissy wimps. Guess we can't all be bad asses. 




ADOPT THE INTERNET *UPDATED*


Petfinder Adopt-the-Internet Day

 

Today is Adopt The Internet day. In honor of PetFinder's 15th birthday today is the day to spread the word about pet adoption. 

PetFinder, are you giving me a reason to talk about my dogs? SWEET!

 


My pups are rescue mutts. Puppies that were born as accidental litters to homeless dogs roaming the fields of Shelton, WA. Oly was left in a shoebox on the steps of Adopt-A-Pet at 3 weeks of age, motherless, unable to eat solid food, needing the care of this amazing shelter to bring her back to health. Without them she would have died. 

I realize now that Oly was destined to be adopted by Adam and I. Oly is a HANDFUL. Crazy, straight up with a twist. She has a love for people and other dogs that is downright out of this world. Her energy is off the charts, and she is needy to a fault. BUT, she was adopted by two people that believe that dogs are family members that we don't give up on no matter how hard they push us, and so I have worked, worked, and worked some more to meet her needs, train her, teach her the right way to behave. At two years old (where has the time gone?) she is still not there yet. She still jumps on strangers, licks CONSTANTLY, and is the most high maintenance dog I've ever owned. But I made a commitment the day I brought her home to love her for the rest of her days. So that's what I'll do. 

Too many dogs are adopted or purchased turn out to be dogs like Oly (i.e. handfuls times 400) and taken to a shelter. I am confident there are a million more Oly's in shelters waiting for a home at this very moment. Dogs who just need a little patience, training, and mostly love but were given up on. 

So I ask you if you're thinking about adding a pup to your family to take a moment and think of all the Oly's out there that need you, that with a little love and attention could turn into super pets. These dogs are scared, confused, and just want a warm bed and some scratches. 

There are puppies, young dogs, old calm already house and leash trained dogs, family dogs, and even old dogs that just want to be hugged waiting for you at the nearest shelter. Some will be the world best breed (MUTTS!) and over half will be pure breeds that people purchased carelessly without realizing the work it takes to own a dog and abandoned for no discernible reason. 

The thing they all have in common is they just want a home. 

 

 

So PLEASE, stop the cycle of breed, buy, and send to a shelter to die that plagues pets in this country. 

If you're looking for a furry family member, head to PetFinder

Your buddy is waiting. 

 

 

I know mine were. 

Oly & Stella

**UPDATED**

Oh, and thank you times 700 for the kind words on my post yesterday. People have remarked that they are amazed at my strength to talk openly about my struggles with therapy and medication for my anxiety and say they could never be so open. I think they could, everyone could if they had the kind of support I have found on this blog. I don't know where you people came from, or how it was that you found me but I'm so grateful. I couldn't have come this far without my internet besties. So much love to all of you amazing people. 


THAT TIME I BECAME A STATISTIC

Way before I ever began taking antidepressants I remember having a few conversations about people who take antidepressants, feel better, think that means they’re ok, get off the meds, feel like shit because HI they aren’t on their happy pills anymore, and end up getting really depressed before going back on the pills again.

I remember also being very fucking smug about these kinds of people and thinking I’d never be one of them.

Then I went on antidepressants.

Then I felt WAY BETTER!

Then I felt way better for a long time.

Then I had a lapse in insurance between leaving one job and starting another so I stocked up on as many pills as I could and was kindly given like a million samples to get through the middle area.

Then I got new insurance.

Then they said they wouldn’t cover my happy pills for less than a heavy chunk of change.

Then I contemplated a life without them.

Then I thought I’d be FINE.

I was better! Fixed! Ok! They only helped notch down the crazy back when it was really bad, they didn’t need to be around anymore.

Then I started cutting my pills in half to slowly decrease.

Then I started having dreams about being forced to relocate again and losing my job and having no friends and feeling really out of control and terrified even though nothing in my life was changing.

Then Adam made a comment, a little baby weightless comment, and something that once left me thinking, “We’ll deal with it when it comes, no stress, bla bla bla look how pretty my shoes are,” suddenly caused a familiar feeling in the pit of my stomach that I knew really, really, really well.  

Anxiety.

I mean I’ve felt anxious since starting meds. When Oly was sick, when taking care of Stella the medical wonder dog, when planning something big and time consuming, when having too much on my plate at work. I mean, normal people anxiety.

But this, this random anxiety, anxiety caused by a weightless comment, this unneeded, clearly misplaced anxiety, I hadn’t felt that in, well, months and I didn’t want to remember.

Yet in a moment, it was back.

Small, but there.

Clearly something I’d enjoyed being free of.

Free of feeling like I constantly was living in a world with two faces. One face presenting a woman who was in control and ok, and the other face buried beneath, spinning around in constant chaos, thinking horrible thoughts and threatening at any moment to take over and sink the ship.

I realized right then and there that I was headed in a bad direction. A place of no more medication, and needlessly clawing myself through things that felt tough as shit when in reality were really nothing to worry about.

Why in the world was I willing to put myself through agony for no reason? Especially when I knew how to keep it away?

 

 

Because I feel weak for needing these pills.

Because I’m scared I’ll need them forever.

And it feels wrong to need a pill to keep me sane.

I feel so broken.

Even though I want to project an image of being ok with my situation of needing medication and therapy to be happy.

Even though when I write those words about feeling shame I feel so stupid.

Stupid for giving into something I know is some weird societal pressure and has nothing to do with me and my actual real life living and breathing happiness as a person.

Why should I suffer because society makes me feel weak for needing antidepressants?

They don’t have to live in my head.

I DO.

And I’m not happy without these tools.

That’s the only fact that should matter.

 

 

 

I have an appointment on Thursday with my doctor to talk options.

Maybe there is a generic I can try.

Maybe not.

Maybe sanity is worth 70 dollars a month.

I’m starting to think it is.