Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Greencloset: Confessions of a Townhouse Dirtoholic

The weather continues to change in our high deserty-mountain world and suddenly I'm no longer as satisfied to only live vicariously through friends and family kind enough to post (on blogs and Facebook) pictures and detailed descriptions of their yards and gardens over which I hungrily pore again and again.

How's that for a dramatic, run-on opener?

Hello, my name is Jessica, and I'm a dirtoholic.  I need it.  I need it under my nails and against my skin, in my hair and around my knees.  I am compelled to dig in it and inhale its pungenty-sweet, rich scent.  I admire newly turned sod like I would admire a bouquet of fresh flowers.  I inhale the scent of fertilizer like a fine French perfume.  I require dirt.  With a primal, demanding, instinctive requirement.  And I require it now.

However, there are new obstacles to me indulging my dirtoholism.  I am currently living in a new and unknown environment where the daily spring temperatures can flirt with the 70's and then nightly temperatures will dip a toe down into the upper 20's.  And wacky temperatures aside, the Townhouse's cute little cement patio does not afford me much - okay, ANY dirt.  Therefore, I must become creative and open to new and previously unknown ideas.

So, temperature and dirt being my main issues/obstacles:

I bought a greenhouse.  

The Sweetheart and I (okay, mostly I) made it our project for our little Girls' Weekend while Jason was away on Navy work.

Inspection by Sweetheart is a must.

It's less of a greenhouse, and more of a greencloset really.  But I think it'll get the job done.

The inaugural occupants for the greencloset are the herbs I've been so desperately missing since we moved away from those beautiful, mature plants growing happily at Albany House.

Left to right: sage, rosemary, German thyme, basil - and the two little guys in front are more basil

Here is the basil before I transplanted it.  I just love the cute little chubby faces of baby basil.

And here's another cute little face.  I think I was born to raise little things.  I love them so.

The greencloset made and the baby plants transplanted, I tucked them all in.

Soon we will add some seedling trays to the mix and the little greencloset will become quite cozy in the colder evenings.

Goodnight little plants!  I hope you sleep warmly enough.

I set up the greencloset on the other side of the glass sliding patio doors that open out of my little kitchen.  I'm hoping any warmth escaping through the glass will help out the greencloset.

The placing works well for our little patio and also looks quite nice from my kitchen.  I can look out the patio doors and see my herbs growing and - hopefully - happy.  

Just like me.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Crushing the Serpent's Head

When I found out the squirmy little kicker I was carrying in my belly was a girl, and not the boy I'd (for whatever reason) anticipated, I was shocked. Okay, not so much shocked as unidentifiably anxious. And this was disquieting. I’d very much looked forward to having my first baby, boy or girl. So why this strange anxiety? Was I that disappointed to not have a boy?  

I dealt with the odd feelings quietly, feeling a bit like I was betraying some sacred maternal trust.  Hoping the tiny she-person in my tummy couldn’t feel my conflicting emotions.  Doing my best to make sure nobody sniffed out what felt like a deep, dark secret.

And then things slowly began to lighten, the shadows of unidentified emotions melted away, and I began to understand what was happening inside me.

For the known generations past, the fathers of my father's line have abandoned their children and their wives and gone on to pursue whatever pull was strongest. I guess my own father just expected that was the way it would all eventually go down.  He didn’t put up much of a fight.  My mother knew life could be different.  She knew the power of just making a choice - and she fought her hardest to keep him with us - but in the end, she had to let him go. And thus I gained the dubious notoriety of being one more of the daughters from my father's line who have been left fatherless.

And here I was, the fatherless daughter, having a daughter. 

I had one of those life moments, earlier in life, when my brother Paul and his wife were having their first little girl. I’ll tear up every time I think back to that first moment of understanding; when I realized that Paul, my dear little brother, would be the first to break our family’s fatherless cycle; the first to crush the serpent of destruction and abandonment that so long has stalked our family line.

And the light in my understanding grew brighter: suddenly it was my turn.

Thankfully, not too long before I met Jason, I'd discarded my own romantic choices and with heartfelt honestly asked God to assist me with choosing a husband. Faithfully, God listened and along with other wonderful male friendships, into my life came Jason. Steady, sure, strong Jason who never, ever backs down from the tough slopes of life. And behind him a family dedicated to God and each other. I knew I'd found the father for my yet-to-be children.

So here we are, four-plus years later. My little daughter is growing and blossoming. She will never know the long, painful hours of waiting endlessly and in vain for a daddy to come home - or even just to visit.  She won't ever taste the breaking disappointment of realizing there are things more beloved, more important than her precious little self. She'll only know the secure love and embrace of a family with roots deep in God's all-encompassing love and power of redemption. 

And as each year passes, I feel my heel grind down upon the serpent's head.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A New Era

This past weekend, we officially turned over a new leaf for our little family.  Bicycles.  We started the whole journey on Siennalee's 4th birthday when she got her very first Trek bike, a little pink and white number complete with training wheels and ribbons - and a girly basket, of course.  But let me back up.

Once upon a time, Bachelor Jason had way too much money on his hands and bought one of the nicest bikes on the whole dang planet.  A Trek.  And it was spanky.  Fast-forward to Bachelor Jason meeting and falling in love with Nearly-Spinster Jessica, and the Trek story takes a dark turn.  Newlywed Jason moves up to Oregon to attend the University of Oregon's MBA program and, unbeknownst to him, settles down smack in the middle of Bicycle Theft Capital, USA.  On the first day of school, the Trek is discovered - in the apartment complex's not-so-secure bicycle barn - totally stripped.  Undeterred, Jason re-outfits the bike and spends the next two years faithfully riding - through rain and, well, rain - to classes.  Then, at the end of the MBA program, very close to graduation, the bike - in its spanky entirety - disappears.  And that, my friends, is how the small Eugene Kantola clan donated way too much money to the Eugene Bicycle Theft Madness.

Fast forward to happier times, as Jason has moved his little clan to Klamath Falls, Oregon.  Hike and bike trails abound.  Work is a tantalizing 5.5 miles away.  Bicycle dreams once again began dancing in his head.  And so we ventured to Medford, to pay a visit to Rogue Valley Cycle Sports.  There we outfitted both Jason and Jessica with road bikes, also adding a small trailer bike for the Sweetheart who cannot yet ride so well on her own (and also keep up with us).

We took the bikes out the very next day for their maiden voyage.  And it was heaven.  We rode down a good portion of the paved part of the OC&E Trail that runs though Klamath Falls (fantastic bike and hike route!).  Siennalee did wonderfully on her little trailer bike which we attached to my bike.  She pedaled faithfully and kept up a steady stream of chatter as we passed fields and cows and many birds out enjoying the evening bugs.  I told Jason it was the most I've enjoyed exercise since playing volleyball in high school.

It was a little nerve-wracking to get back on the "horse" - and by "horse" I mean super light road bike with 45 pounds of excited and unbalanced Sweetheart trailing behind.

My goodness we're cute.

I just love my Sweetheart's little face here.  She's making me laugh as I'm riding.

Of course, since we learned the hard lesson of living in Eugene - that sometimes, sometimes people may feel entitled to a bicycle that is not their own - our bicycles are now our roommates in our sweet little townhouse.  Jason did a great job clearing out our downstairs hall closet (aka, the Garage) and while we're still quite cozy, we are also quite content.  New eras are good.  Life is good.