Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Slow Growth

Liz and a tree, originally uploaded by wizzybit.

(I am fully aware that is a Joshua tree and not a Saguaro cactus. The metaphors that follow should still apply, however.)

So why am I doing this blog anyway? It started as a record and an outlet for my self-improvement ramblings. So many of my experiments either do not produce reportable findings or don't take off at all. But I think checking for growth is important. You stop growing, well, you stop.

And if you're a plant, you start dying? Granted, I am not a plant. But I might be a super-slow plant, like a Saguaro cactus (the slowest growing plant in the world, says Google).

One of the gardener mantras from my summer of manual labor was, "If it's brown, cut it down." (Weeds were "pull it low and pull it slow". There were some other ones, but they might have been about coffee or mulch....). And it seems like a good time to start pruning in my life. Pruning to produce fruit? Root pruning, in order to stay healthy in a small container? I think we're just cutting out the dead and crossing branches. You have to be careful with the slow-growing plants, because it will take them a while to recover from a poorly-planned cut.

So what I am cutting? I've been working on my definite no list. It's the list of things I never have to consider, unless I want to. It includes weeknight bar nights, boats, horror movies, and white pants. When it gets warmer, we'll try to think bigger.

But for now, I'm dropping the dead buds and storing water. Hang on.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Snow Smarts

Snow is the boss right now. Snows tells us where to be, when we're going to get there, how much activity is possible or necessary. Snow, frankly, is kind of a jerk.

So I am trying to find ways to appreciate the, uh, crystal clarity of snow. Snow wisdom, if you like. Because the snow is teaching me what I really like, and it's surprising.

Maybe I was just mopey last weekend. I'd had a stressful week at work, and every day it seemed like there was more snow. We are running out of places to put it around our driveway, which affects our mobility, and then when you do get the car on the road, the streets are narrow and slippery. The below-zero temperatures make it less carefree for being outside, and it's rare to find a sidewalk that has been cleared, let alone a long stretch of them for walking. So, I am definitely feeling housebound, and motivated to get out.

Except for when I'm not. There were multiple occasions last weekend when the struggle to get through the snow to the event seemed more than a minor annoyance, but a true barrier. Some of these were social events, yes. And I've always thought of myself as a very social person, happiest in a crowd. How could I miss the party, and yet be okay with it? This had never happened before.

But if I really think about it, it happens all the time, and has for all time. It used to drive my younger brother to tears because sometimes I just had to play by myself, in my room, with the door closed. It's not that I didn't enjoy playing with him, but that sometimes I knew, even as a child, that I needed to be by myself. Somehow, I've forgotten that, and packed the calendar with lots of lovely activities, but more loveliness than I can handle.

And even though I used to know this, I am still surprised by what a homebody I've turned into over the years. If you had told me 20 years ago I would want to stay home sometimes (anytime!), I would have told you that was impossible.

It suddenly occurred to me, snow is the lens! When accepting invitations, I need to remember, what if I had to dig the car out of a snowbank? Would I still want to go to this?

So, yes, snow is the boss. Snow is kind of jerk. But it makes it all crystal clear.