Saturday, November 22, 2014

Saturdays in the Garden - Squirelly Driving and Reading

It's really cold but at least we don 't have 7 feet of snow.  The end.

Winter is not my happy place, if you can't tell.  I struggle every winter with a seriously bad attitude.  It doesn't help that my job is actually super crazy busy in the winter time and requires a decent amount of travel.  I grew up in Virginia.  I do not know how to drive in snowy weather even after living in Iowa now for almost 9 years.  It doesn't help that 5 years ago my pick-up was totaled when it got hit by an 18 wheeler during a freak 15 minute ice storm that turned the highway into an ice rink.  I, thankfully, was completely unharmed and it could have been so much worse but this incident was also connected with a traumatic loss in my life,  I was on the way to the airport to fly and visit my father who passed away 3 days later from cancer.  It seriously undermined my confidence level about driving, period, and I'm actually even a little squirrelly now about driving on the highway in the rain much less snow.  For a couple of years there I would seriously be on the brink of an anxiety attack if I had to drive somewhere in snowy weather or when the roads were the least bit snowy.  In the last 2-3 years, I think I have learned to deal with it a little bit better but I still don't like it. 

WOW, I didn't really mean to go into all of that.  The point I am trying to make is that I've never really learned to enjoy winter as an adult and I don't like being outside during this season.  I remember the joy snow brought as a kid  - all it brought was fun - but as an adult, all it seems to bring is stress and inconvenience.  The only times I get a little joy from it, is watching my dogs race around and roll and seriously just revel in the snow.  I wish I could capture a little bit of that spirit.  The one thing that saves me during the winter is planning the garden.  I usually start in December, day dreaming what I want to grow and how it will be organized.  I may get a few gardening books out of the library.  January I start looking through the seed catalogs and planning out my order.  February, I start some of my seedlings like onions and kale and chard.  March the tomatoes and peppers and usually some herbs get started.  Taking care of the seedlings and indeed the entire planning process help to convince me that all the cold and snow and gray skies will have an end.

If there are any former winter haters out there that have somehow learned to embrace and love this season or have any other tips for enduring cheerfully, I would love to here from you!


This was a week of meetings at work which kept things a little hectic.  I led a meeting on Friday that is basically made up of a group of lepidopterists (folks that study butterflies) working on butterfly conservation.  They are pretty much all volunteers for the committee, so I figure the least I can do is feed them a hearty lunch. It's 10-12 people which for me is cooking for quite a crowd and the meeting is not at  my house so it has to be portable and pretty much ready to eat.   The last couple meetings I've tried to break away from my regular soup and bagels routine and have done pulled pork and then this meeting I made some homemade sloppy joe mix which was really tasty and pretty easy but of course now I can't find the blog where I picked up the recipe.  But there are a ton of recipes online and it wasn't terribly complicated. Everybody loved it and it was a little healthier than your regular mix.  I used a mix of ground beef and turkey and it was bulked up with lentils, shredded carrot, onions and peppers.    If anybody has any great recipes for feeding a crowd, I'd love to hear them.


Well my weird relationship with reading continued this week.  I am slowly making my way through a number of books but am just not that interested in reading at the moment.  Maybe I am actually trying to read too many things at once?  I have The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins going on the ipod, and I'm about halfway in and enjoying it, though I really wish he would stop sniping back at all his critics (it's an anniversary edition with lots of end note updates).  I am listening to How to Tell Toledo From the Night Sky by Lydia Netzer in the car.  On the e-reader I am reading Desperate Duchesses by Eloisa James which continuously has me wavering between irritation and admiration at it's somewhat unusual structure for a Regency romance.  In print, I finally finished The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford which ended quite shockingly.  I am continuing on with Love in a Cold Climate by Mitford.  I am have also made my way through about a third of the second Alanna book In the Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce.  While I am liking all of the books at some level none of them are giving me what I want right now from reading which is...I have no idea.  And yes I think there are too many.  Goal for the weekend - finish at least one.

On the blog this week:
SUNDAY:  Sundays through the Stargate - Stargate SG1, Season 2  Part of my reading issues may be my current re-watch obsession with Stargate SG1 which I am feeding by blogging about it.  It's good to feed the obsessions, right?  Isn't that how it goes; starve a cold and feed an obsession?  Season two is a really interesting season for Sam Carter and the show as a whole really hits its stride.
TUESDAY: Top Ten Tuesday: Sequels I am Anxiously Awaiting  This list was easy - I am in the middle of WAY too many series.  I love them but.. I hate them.
THURSDAY: Review of At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson - it was delightful AND informative.

Next week on the blog:
SUNDAY:  You guessed it... Sundays through the Stargate - SG1 season 3.  A seriously awesome season and the Sam and Jack really starts to ramp up.
TUESDAY: Top Ten Tuesday is the Winter TBR.  Since I'm struggling a bit at the moment this would be a good thing to give some thought to.
THURSDAY: Review of Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan - a scary book about how complex our brains really are and when they get sick it is very difficult figuring out what is wrong. Another non-fiction read that I'm posting in November in honor of Non-fiction November.
FRIDAY:  Review of The Pursuit of Mary Bennet by Pamela Mingle.  Not bad but also a little odd.

 Spring, summer, and fall fill us with hope; winter alone reminds us of the human condition.

~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic’s Notebook, 1966

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