Stories, Art, Food, Teaching, Travel, and the other Loves of my Life

Stories, Art, Food, Teaching, Travel, and the other Loves of my Life
"Tell me, what is it you plan to do / With your one wild and precious life?" Mary Oliver, "The Summer Day"

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Check, Double-Check

January and February are always crazy. In three weeks, my cousin, Honey, mom, step-dad, and two brothers all have birthdays. Not to mention I always forget to order my planner (which MUST be the Moleskin pocket calendar, and not any other planner which obviously won't do the job) in time for the new year, and must spend the first few weeks of January managing my schedule via post it notes and index cards crumpling in the depths of my purse.

But. I'm always. So. MOTIVATED! in January.

We spent the last two weekends tearing out the pathetic excuse for a "lawn" that we had (really, it was more of a mud hole), and reclaiming the yard as best we could, considering that neither one of us has much of a green thumb, and we've already gone through two "reclaim the garden" phases, which lasted maybe a weekend or so, and then went back to total crap.

I'm just not my mother. Why fight it. I hate weeding. And though I tried my damn-dest last summer, the squirrels got everything except for a few grape-size tomatoes and one red pepper, which was maybe the size of a golf ball and somehow quite tough.

So, we came to terms with the following:
-We basically suck at gardening
-We don't have much time for it, and don't want to spend much time pulling weeds
-We don't get much sunlight out there thanks to the huge tree hanging over most of the yard
-The squirrels here have clearly been genetically engineered beyond their fears of cats and/or infuriated women screaming and waving shovels at them.

Considering all of the above, the mud hole seems like a reasonable option. But, when coupled with the following:
-We genuinely love being outside and really do enjoy the garden, when it's nice
-We don't want to simply dump a bunch of chemicals out there or trap animals or do other mean things

Answer (So far, at least): Enter the rock garden.

Or, the whatever garden. It's not really a "Japanese" garden at all, I thought maybe I'd get in touch with my Korean roots and try for a traditional Korean garden, but instead of reading books and drawing plans and all that, we just looked at a few pictures online, and, 14 bags of gravel later, we're sitting out there with our laptops, watching the cats spy on the new fish.

It's actually quite lovely. Gardens really are one of life's simple pleasures (or, not-so-simple pleasures, if you're more dedicated than I am). And, so far, no weeds!

Monday, January 3, 2011


I don't really think in terms of "resolutions," but I do think in terms of "new." New things to try. New things to learn. New places to go.

-Take a Russian class
-Learn to do a handstand
-Do the splits (the yoga way, not the cheerleader way)
-Make my own noodles (Italian and Asian)
-Finish my book
-Start a real garden
-Dress up more
-Take an online course at Yale
-Switch to 100% organic cleaning products
-Get at least 3 more stamps in my passport
-Read 50 books by Nobel-prize-winning authors
-Write more letters to my grandparents (at least once a month)

One solid new rule: No more watching TV during dinner. We are going to be civilized and connected in this house and it starts at the table, dammit!

Vaguer things to keep in mind, rather than check off a list:

I want to be: smart, good, strong, grounded, and fun. Sassy and fancy and ready for sun.