Monthly Archives: July 2009

Vegetable Garden digression

This is my shout out to the gardening nerds!!! 🙂  And a way for me to procrastinate on writing my novel…

Pictures from my vegetable garden…

This is an early Spring picture of the garden–sometime in early April.  I blurred out the face of the guy in the photo, so don’t even TRY IT! 🙂  The guy is included in the photo so you can have an idea of scale (he’s way down below).  One of those retaining wall blocks is the length of a wiener dog.

On the top (the nearer) tier is my overwintered french sorrel, a tiny rose geranium (smells great–and if you steep the leaves you can get some wonderful rosy flavors).  Plus some tomatoes in cages.  In the bottom right corner is my overwintered french tarragon.  Those little thing grassy things are garlic

We just put in the lower tier this year–so in this picture, all you see is fresh dirt below.

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This is a shot of the garden from a second story window in April.

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And here’s a shot of the garden from that same window in June.  Lots of potato plants, tomato plants, garlic up top.  Below you see lettuce and radishes and a triamble squash plant.
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We’re sprawling in July!    The potato plants look scraggly but they’ve got potatoes underground!  And the tomato plants are going wild, as is the squash plant.  I can’t keep up with the lettuce.  And wedged in here and there you’ll see garlic, anise hyssop, korean perilla, chinese bellflowers (aka doraji or platycodon) and carrots and such.
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(As of August 22, 2009)…
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The chaos of mid-summer vegetable garden growth!  I can’t keep those tomatoes up!
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In the lower level we have a sickly-ish momotaro tomato plant here but everything else is thriving.
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Much to my dismay, the triamble squash plant aborted its first few squash, despite hand pollination.  But I kept watering, and fertilizing…and here’s one that seems to be past that “first trimester danger zone” of squash growth.  Keep your fingers crossed.
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The garden, from the bottom up.  Isn’t it wonderful?  I doubled the size of my garden this year and I *still* don’t think it’s big enough.  There’s so much more I want to plant but I’m still happy with this. 🙂  I’m eyeing a lot of the green tomatoes–do I use them now or wait for my first red tomato?  I’ve got Black Krim, Siberia, Momotaro, and Early Girl tomato plants this year.  I’m dry farming the Early Girl (well, sort of–I have to water the other plants, but I just avoid giving the early girl tomato plant direct water).
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My Berkeley

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I know I write a lot about other places–about my love for London, my deep connection to/personality fit with New York City and my flirtation with San Francisco. And wanting to live in Seoul for a year to feed my psyche. Then there are all my vacations to places I want to visit again: Barcelona, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo. And all the places I want to visit, like Greece. The world the world the world!

I thought I’d share a little bit of My Berkeley. Not all of it because I could go on and on as to why I choose to live here…but some if it.

I live in Berkeley and this has been my home more or less (I lived in Palo Alto for 6 months, and lived in Kensington for awhile, a little tiny town bordering Berkeley) for the last eighteen years. I have lived half my life to date, here. I met the love of my life, here. I learned to become an adult, here. I learned to be happy, here.

Some people might be surprised that I like Berkeley–I am no hippie. I am a moderate in a town of left wing activists who don’t believe in prisons (free the prisoners!), and protest at the drop of a hat.

(Though in college, I did participate in protests–my mom calling me frantically, “Don’t get arrested!”). I protested 187. I remember ruining a perfectly good suede coat protesting in the rain.

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( And if you drive by campus often enough, you’ll run into a student protest every so often).

This town is good for me, and I hope I am good in return. I grew up with many many rules in a conservative town and Berkeley is like the good mate who is in many ways the opposite of me, helping me to move out of my comfort zone and embrace more of life. I love that the town keeps me in my place, that I cannot get groceries without running into a homeless person-when I give my change or dollar, I am paying my tithe to society, and I am consciously taking note of my own privilege.

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mid July quick blog

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Read/Reading:
I stopped rereading Haruki Murakami’s Wind Up Bird Chronicle because my novel began to sound oddly like Murakami and that terrified me. So–hands off any Murakami until I’m done with the draft. However! I’ve cut back on the TV, and increased my writing and reading. In the month of July to date (and mind you, we’re not done with July yet!) I’ve read FIVE books (books #7-11 on my book list): 13 Ways Of Looking At The Novel, Farm City, Long Road Home, Autobiography of a Face, and Lullaby.

It’s been a deep pleasure to read.

Wrote/Writing:
The novel. (What else is new).

Viewed:
Still happy that it’s summer and TV season is over. But I have been watching the Tour de France on fast forward. And I did go to see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince–it was FANTASTIC! I think it’s the BEST Harry Potter movie to date.

Memorable eats:
Fruit. Mrmmmm summer fruit.

Ate Out:
Still laughing like a pervert at the phrase.
Just the occasional salad out or a burrito. Ate a yummy biscuit and waffle from the Little Skillet in San Francisco. I’ve been watching what I eat these days.

Cooked:
Nothing exciting (sorry)–summer is all about the fresh fruit! Although–I will be making homemade malted milk ball ice cream this weekend.

Happenings:

  • Keeping up my exercise regimen. I’m up to 2.5 miles running nonstop. It feels GOOD.
  • Side benefit to running: I dared to measure my waist and I’ve lost 2 inches. Yay! Watching my dad’s health deteriorate is making me more diligent about my own health.
  • 3 litmag rejections.
  • Watching the vegetable garden sprawl. Still eating lettuce from the veggie garden. Waiting on the green tomatoes. Harvested a few potatoes. Hand pollinating squash.
  • Baby desire has dissipated for the time being.
  • Braved a heat wave. Welcoming the fog.
  • Residency apps! Dare I apply to ones without internet? I shall.
  • Writing my syllabus for my Fall class.
  • Went on a fantastic awesome super road trip in June (which you know about, if you’re a regular reader of the blog).
  • Remembered the name of the celebrity we spotted over a year ago in L.A. stepping into a Maserati w/ two hot chicks. WHO WAS IT?! We just realized tonight: James Woods.
  • Saw a brilliant awesome double rainbow over Berkeley two weeks ago.
  • Tea with Bloglily–why don’t I meet up with friends more often?!
  • Traded in 24 old MAC cosmetic cases (man, I am a makeup whore) and exchanged them for 4 free things (2 lipsticks & 2 eyeshadows).

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planning

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The words aren’t coming easily in my novel writing this week (and last week!). So my character is stoned and I’m giving him a good day, at last, after suffering loss and confusion (okay, the drugs aren’t helping with his confusion). He is stoned out of his mind! He is going to have some fun! But there I stall. Because I have to listen to him because this is a deviation from my original plan and he’s leading me in this diversion.

I’m feeling like a tyrant of a writer–I’ve got my plot and my agenda, and dammit, why aren’t my characters following the plan?! (Because they don’t want to. I better give them many more good days and give them more leeway to do what they want instead of what I demand).

Speaking of plans. I’m working on a syllabus and lesson plans for the Fall semester. With teaching, there’s got to be some kind of plan–but there, I feel plan-less.

I’ve got a relationship I’m building. Family. And there too, I am in need of a framework. I’m feeling lost without it, feeling downright edgy and tense, and that mood isn’t any good for relationship building. So I’m working on giving myself some security.

Sometime I long for the days when I was still in early recovery from the stroke, where I lived entirely in the present tense, because my memory failed me and made planning and fretting impossible.

I too, need a break from the plan. I want to live in a little house in Big Sky country or an apartment in Manhattan or just in this house in Berkeley without a daily agenda or obligations or responsibilities. I want what I want. I want no plan. Just for a little while?

Can I play?

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