Excuse me

The last year has been crazy. Full of boulders I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to move. And full of excuses, excuses that I’m still struggling with, but we’ll get to those a little later. First the boulders.

A year ago I was going through my last two weeks at my corporate job and contemplating the monumental task before me of trying to find a communications/environmental/awesome job in the middle of a cornfield. I didn’t know what I was going to do.

What I did know was that I had moved back home to a county of less than 20,000 people, in a poor economy for a guy who still had not “officially” proposed to me. And I had just lost my job. To my credit I stayed relatively composed. I didn’t flip out on my boyfriend until Christmas. I lowered my expectation of finding something in my field. I was too proud to file for unemployment and instead worked as a substitute teacher and a janitor, then as a bank teller, then in my family’s store.

Those few months rotted me from the inside out. I felt like a Halloween pumpkin slowly collapsing into its own mush. I guess I’m proud. No, I know I’m proud. I think too much of my own intelligence and creativity and drive. Blame it on my mother, she was very encouraging.

It wasn’t that I thought I was better than these jobs, it was that I thought I could do more, contribute more, create more, live more than just what I was doing. I’m a romantic you see, and an optimist. I wanted a job I could be passionate about.

I was getting tired, tired of pushing boulders that seemed like they would never budge. I had pushed through to find a job after college (when the economy was just beginning to look bad), only to leave that job and be faced with an even bigger boulder, finding a job in a sparsely populated area in an even worse economy.

But I kept shoving and prodding the world to bend to my will. I’m determined. At least that’s what my PE teacher told me, when, after the 10th attempt to climb a rock wall, I got back up to try again. I was exhausted but it didn’t matter. I wouldn’t quit.

And eight months ago, I was still exhausted and still determined. I finally found a job at a newspaper. I wasn’t full time, the company left much to be desired, the pay wasn’t great and I had to occasionally commute long distances. But it was in my field, I had experience, and for the most part I enjoyed it. I was still scanning the water for the next big fish.

And I caught it. I’m now the recycling director for my county. I’m looking forward to utilizing my communications and environmental skills for this position and (hopefully) making some sort of an impact. It’s a job I can be passionate about. If the bags of used diapers left at the recycling centers in the county don’t crush my willpower, which is unlikely because I’m very strong willed. (Yes, people DO leave large bags of used diapers there and many other strange and awful things, which you, lucky you, might get the joy of reading about and seeing pictures on this very blog. People who care share.)

Now it’s time for the excuses explanation. While I carved out several jobs for myself the last few months, I’ve also made excuses. I could have found time to take an InDesign or Dreamweaver class. I could have utilized this blog more. I could have posted more things on Etsy. Instead I made excuses, such as:

I don’t have time

I’m tired

I don’t have the money/skills to invest in this

I’m not sure what to write/post/enroll in

I won’t be able to apply that

I should just lower my expectations

I’ll never be able to find something

These were excuses. Things I thought or said because I was frustrated and discouraged,  but I can’t let them get in my way anymore. Receiving the recycling position is great, I feel like I have a direction and purpose once again and I can’t let that hope and enthusiasm burn out, I have to build up a roaring fire, and get some dynamite and blow the biggest boulders, my excuses, to bits.

A year ago I was marking off my last two weeks at my corporate job based in Baltimore. I must admit the job was good but the seafood was great!

How does your Gourdidous Grow?

The lovely spring weather in Northwest Indiana has brought out my Gardening Bug which makes everything seem a bit greener, even when it is not, like my wallet. I see the tips of tulips poking through the ground

One of the tulips responsible for my Spring gardening madness.

and immediately feel the need to spend ridiculous amounts of money on mulch, plants, stakes, fertilizer, pots, planters, signs, patio furniture, hose implements, and…seeds, LOTS OF SEEDS.

Here is my list of items, so far. Let’s not forget there are still tomatoes and peppers to purchase.
Blue Lake 274 Bush Bean
Dills Atlantic Giant Pumpkin
Indian Berries Popcorn
Knucklehead Super Freak Pumpkin
Dakota Garden Pea
Jamboree Hybrid Pumpkin-Squash
Prizewinner Hybrid Pumpkin *Sub
Daisy Mix Gourds
Sylvesta Lettuce
Red Candy Apple Onion Plants
Goblin Eggs Gourds
Wando Pea
Galeuse D Eysines Pumpkin
Small World Of Color Blend Pumpkin
Rumbo Hybrid Squash
Autumn Explosion Hybrid Indian Corn
Phantom Hybrid Pumpkin
Rouge Vif D Etampes Pumpkin
Smr 58 Cucumber
Gremlins Gourds
Lunch Lady Gourds
Little Gem Romaine Lettuce
Homemade Pickles Cucumber
World Of Color Blend Pumpkin
Copra Hybrid Onion Plants
Contender Bush Bean
Jack Be Little Pumpkin
Espada Bush Bean
California White Garlic
Autumn Wings Blend Gourds
Wee Be Little Miniature Pumpkin
Honey Bear Hybrid Acorn Squash
Jungs Sweet Repeat Leaf Lettuce Mix
Red Warty Thing Pumpkin

You, see? The Gardening Bug has really flared up this year. It is a fairly common disease, most likely passed on through recessive genes in the parents. I know I inherited it from my mother. Half of these seeds are hers and she is still eying the broccoli and potatoes at our local greenhouses.

And to think how my brother and I used to groan about her gardening projects and now, instead of finding a cure or somehow trying to relieve her symptoms, I’m making the illness worse by saying “MOM, look at the sale on blueberry bushes! We could buy 100 of them and start selling blueberries next year!”

Mom and I would picture ourselves on the most beautiful July day casually going along picking berries in the sunshine, with a gentle breeze gliding by fluttering our hats, while the dog and the cat run and play at our feet. The reality would occur three years later when the bushes are finally mature enough to be picked. Mom and I would be staggering in the heat, grimy from the dirt and the sand, our hands blue and our faces blistering. At least I’ve realized the reality but that doesn’t stop me from running after my crazy gardening dreams, for example the multitude of pumpkin and gourd seeds I ordered. Which I should have seen as a symptom of a much more refined strain of the gardening bug.

Last year, I moved back home again to Indiana, and my Gardening Bug developed into a specific strain, I refer to as Gourdidous.

The crazy amount of pumpkins I had in 2011.

More Pumpkins and the Indiana Sky

Gourdidous is a strain of the more common Gardening Bug, in which the afflicted person becomes obsessed with growing pumpkins and gourds. The afflicted person may focus on one variety of pumpkin or gourd, such as giant pumpkins, or they may be distracted by a wide variety of pumpkin and gourd plants. Be aware that such individuals with gourdidous may deposit pumpkins on your doorstep and display a ridiculous amount of gourds and pumpkins outside and inside their home weeks before the onset of fall. They may inflict pumpkin and gourd recipes on you, and become very upset should their pumpkins be given away, sold, or destroyed even with their permission.

Josh is still not sure about sphagetti squash and my dad gave the dish a less than approving eye (and he eats everything). When a local gentleman who sells pumpkins at fairs and festivals offered to buy some of my stock, I was overjoyed. But when the fruits were gone, I had a minor freakout, even though he gave me a fair deal. How could he take my precious gourds!?

But this year, I feel more prepared, not only for planting, but also for letting go. I have learned it is okay to let go of your gourds. Less they become squishy puddles of fowl smelling goo a few months later. Others afflicted by Gourdidous should realize that the rise in temperature, the sloshing of your stomach, and the closing off of your throat because your gourds are gone are temporary. Pumpkins can be grown again the next year and that is part of the joy of it.

This year there should be tons to go around.

Maybe I should check that seed catalog again.

Sparkplug, the assistant gardener will help me.

He’s such a great helper, look at those muddy claws!