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Sciread77

Baking, Suburban Homesteading, and Health

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In our case, I think they’re both keys to our long-term happiness and health. I’ve always been interested in some degree of homesteading, mostly in growing my own fruits and vegetables. Now that we have enough sunlight in our yard, we’re planting fruit trees and bushes (for future years) and soon will be planting vegetables. I’m personally most excited for broccoli and carrots from our yard. Our kids are looking forward to watermelon and pumpkins. In a few years it’ll be the cherries. We are heading up north to pick up two more varieties of cherry tree and hopefully an apple tree or two, a plum tree, and a nectarine or apricot tree. So that’ll be good. 

 

No truck yet, and I’m not sure when we’re going to be able to get one. But we’re going to be at the Pride parade/festival this year and we’re getting some birthday orders so I hope the bakery takes off and word spreads. 

 

We’ve been happier and generally healthier lately spending evenings and weekends outside gardening. We’re constructing a playset right now. I have been gaining weight as we’ve been barely hanging on in a few ways timewise so we’ve taken the easy, fast food way out for dinner. I have been eating lots of fruits, veggies, grains, and seeds. If dinner were proper I’d be completely and easily vegetarian, which I largely enjoy even though I like a good steak, bbq, etc now and then. 

 

More to follow. Like actual goals!

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Surprisingly emotional beginning to the day. 

 

 

 


I found out first thing this morning that one of my work friends committed suicide last week. She lost her job over a year ago and had trouble finding a new one. I recommended her for a ton of jobs and called the hiring manager on several to do so. We encouraged her to move back to her home town where she had a support system. She was waiting to hear back from the latest job application last we’d talked. Then she posted “my life in pictures” on Facebook a week ago and someone found her the next day. 

 

I can’t remember experiencing the suicide of a friend prior to this. The closest would be my trans friend who died of a drug overdose that was also suspected as a suicide. This is markedly different in a lot of ways.  I do feel a lot more mixed emotions right now, particularly anger mixed in with the sadness and guilt. The guilt because there are many times she messaged me, lately in particular, that I feel I should have called her back on. Anger right there again at her for sharing a funny video instead of her feelings. Sadness and compassion because I’ve been depressed, and I feel feelings pretty hard and when it’s all you can muster to share the stupid video and you get nothing back it can feel like nobody cares. This is someone I cared about, who I talked almost daily on the phone about both business and personal life for years. Who I thought I’d done my best to help. Who, in hindsight, I’d done so much more for.

 

I got messages from two people this morning. One, asking to meet for something important. The other, that said XXXX was looking for me to tell me news. That was the moment I knew. Because when I saw “my life in pictures” and looked through it I initially thought it was going to be another Facebook album thing that I’d start to see everywhere so I thought nothing of it. And those messages are when I realized that I hadn’t, and my gut told me she was in a bad way, and that she’d put and end to it all. 

 

In any case, that is no sort of option for me. Long ago, I had a time where I didn’t care. That time is over. But that doesn’t mean that my feels aren’t all scrambled right now. 

 
 

 

 

So I’ll be heading home early from work. 

 

Goals. 

 

1. MH. My therapist thinks focusing on the future career goals, IE bakery, are what matter most. He suggested more or less ignoring other stuff to get ahead where I am because I’m not happy here and moving up isn’t going to magically change how I feel about this career or industry. Good call. Also, spending time with family and outdoors and other things that help me avoid being overwhelmed by anxiety/etc are taking priority, especially in light of this morning’s news. 

 

2.  Sleep. As always. 

 

3. Support my wife. She’s awesome and deserves it. And she does a great job supporting me in all my emotionality. 

 

4. Reading. It helps. 

 

5.  Eat right. It’s really gotten away from me lately. (Both of is really). I ate more meat at the big meal yesterday than I usually do in a week. I’ve been eating a lot of the right stuff by also fitting in a lot of high-calorie, delicious garbage. It’s mostly been the last two weeks. Tech weeks are hard and we get a lot of fast food and the last week we’ve been eating a lot of pizza and the like while we’re outside. So activity=good but food intake=Bad. Gotta moderate or eliminate junk. 

 

I’m super excited for the rest of the garden. Also we have to finish the playset which estimates 20 hours to assemble without the help of 3 kids under 6 assisting you. My goal is to get that done this week because in the evening so the weekend can be used for our regular plans and getting those fruit trees and veggies.  

Edited by Sciread77
career goals NOT career girls
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3 hours ago, annyshay said:

*hugs*

 

28 minutes ago, woodandbronze said:

I'm so sorry for your loss.

 

Thank you. I’m super tired. And the whole mess is compounded by my normal emotional outlets being stifled; wife is sick with no voice, friends mostly in meetings at work, others not available due to random bad timing. I don’t normally talk to many people at once or have a need to do so. But I definitely need to work on my social networks a bit more. Things have changed a lot since moving south of the city (8 years ago).

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I'm sorry for your loss :(

 

For a couple of years, I owned a suburban house with an acre and a half yard (there were major transmission lines running over it, making it unsuitable for housing development, and therefore affordable) and I had backyard chickens and vegetable patches and berry bushes and even started an orchard (although I would not be there to see them fruit). There were a lot of things going wrong with my life at the time--basically everything but the homestead--which is why I eventually had to leave my little farm behind me, but the homesteading slice of that chapter of my life is still among my happiest memories. I'm hoping to have an opportunity for that again someday.

 

I hope you find your bliss in your homestead! It sounds wonderful.

 

 

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I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. But I am happy to hear that your new home is growing. Hope your wife feels better soon.

 

Following.

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10 hours ago, Ann of Vries said:

I'm sorry for your loss :(

 

Thanks. I’m still sad but it’ll be ok. 

 

10 hours ago, Ann of Vries said:

For a couple of years, I owned a suburban house with an acre and a half yard (there were major transmission lines running over it, making it unsuitable for housing development, and therefore affordable) and I had backyard chickens and vegetable patches and berry bushes and even started an orchard (although I would not be there to see them fruit). There were a lot of things going wrong with my life at the time--basically everything but the homestead--which is why I eventually had to leave my little farm behind me, but the homesteading slice of that chapter of my life is still among my happiest memories. I'm hoping to have an opportunity for that again someday.

 

I hope you find your bliss in your homestead! It sounds wonderful.

 

 

 

As a child, I fantasized about a 10-acre homestead about as far from the city as I am now. (I also apparently fantasized about being a multimillionaire in assets but cash broke lol). I’m on a 1/4 acre lot that is mostly front yard but it is all fairly flat and usable. The back yard is gorgeous. Our last house had several beautiful oak trees, but I’m allergic to oak (as are our kids), there was no sunlight to grow anything, mosquitoes were terrible, and the whole thing was on a hill will smaller trees cut down to 1-ft stumps that are great to impale yourself on. 

 

I really want chickens for eggs and goats for milk, but they’re not allowed due to the HOA and I’d want more land for goats anyway. Optimally, I’d be able to grow our entire normal diet and go to the store for emergencies or treats. Of course, I should probably just slow down and concentrate on keeping the beginnings alive!

 

I’m looking for a woody native grass, the river cane, to provide a screen/hedge at the back of the property. There’s an aggressive dog I don’t want my dogs near and fence-aggressive dogs tend to calm down a lot of they can’t see the other side of things. I want it to be thing because my dogs with jump over or run through standard fences. 

 

8 hours ago, WolfDreamer said:

I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. But I am happy to hear that your new home is growing. Hope your wife feels better soon.

 

Following.

 

Thanks my friend. I think she’s on the mend. I might be able to see her tonight if I can stay awake longer than the kids. 

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My friend’s older sister called me this afternoon while I was picking up the kids. They’re trying to figure everything out. The why. She was close to her sisters and they were blindsided. I thought we were close, too, but I’ve got nothin on her family.  Pretty darned close for work friends; I usually don’t have any personal relationship beyond coworker and we were friends on Facebook and texted one another. I helped her through the termination and the job search. 

 

Her family is a few hours away from here. They’re having a memorial 5/25, the same day the encore show is for my wife’s theatre show. So I probably won’t be able to make it but maybe they’ll have a wake? In any case, we have each other’s info now. 

 

It’s just a terrible waste. A tragic loss. Just about everyone loved her and now there’s a big hole. She made the world a brighter place. I’m happy to report, at least, that her dog is well-taken care of and a chain of people drove her across the country. 

 

I’m sorry if I’m a bit up and down this challenge and it’s not so much fun to read. I’m sort of using this as a platform to process my thoughts. 

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13 hours ago, Sciread77 said:

 

I’m sorry if I’m a bit up and down this challenge and it’s not so much fun to read. I’m sort of using this as a platform to process my thoughts. 

Process away. We're here for you. 

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It’s been raining the last several days and we’ve been unable to get outside to finish the playset, which is disappointing. I’ve been incredibly tired and my wife hasn’t been sleeping well due to the Daschund puppy sleeping close enough to be a growth, and when he falls asleep he’s hot as a nuclear reactor. We painted some rocks last night though, and had a lot of fun that apparently involves someone hiding most or all of the clothes we had set out for today. I suspect the 19-month old. She’s pretty cute and mischievous! That led to a minor crisis this morning, though I was more upset that my work wants me to wear a positive matching tee shirt with everyone else than anything else. 

 

I haven’t mentioned my friend’s death to my parents or the rest of that family because they don’t do too well with such information. Their anxiety and concern for my mental health usually, sadly, has the opposite effect on my actual health. So they don’t get to learn about it until I’ve processed. I haven’t see my sister or her husband either which is a drag. I don’t think my wife knows how to support me through it, and to be fair I don’t really know either. Sadness and loss, yeah. The suicide part brings in so many battling emotions that it’s hard to finish an emotional thought. Thank goodness for healthy doses of distraction. I’m working very hard to be mindful of my emotions as they come and to not take them out on others, or to slow down and take a breath when I am. I gotta say, nobody has been a better supporter and therapist so far than my boys. They’re both pretty empathetic and compassionate little humans. I’ve not been seeking their help on a heavy and grown up issue like this but when you’re upset, they know. And they ask questions and give hugs. And they’re good little distractors too!

 

I’m hoping it’s drier tonight and tomorrow night so we can knock out most or all of the playset and get back to gardening. I’m planning a shed so we can get our garage back from the gardening equipment and the like.  I really want a pretty wall garden/hanging garden to go around the walls of the shed, which I imagine will be under the deck, where it I’ll be easier to roll out frost protection if necessary. This is all probably a year or two in the future at least. At least our fruit trees are fine even if the two planted bushes were murdered by bunnies. 

 

 

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No band of adventurers is complete without a nemesis. Ours is the Pumpkin Monster. 

 

The Pumpkin Monster is a positive that emerged out of the tragic February deaths of our bunnies. An animal tried to get into their hutch, probably a dog or coyote. It didn’t, but the poor things died of a heart attack because (and I cannot get over this) bunnies can be scared to death. So what else were my kids to do, but create the scariest monster in the world?

 

The Pumpkin Monster (sometimes known as the Pumpkinhead Monster) is big, as big as Daddy! And he’s super strong, EVEN STRONGER than Daddy! He’s scary and he’s mean to pets. He has over 10,000 cousins who are also wicked and terrifying, and they’ll commit crimes ranging from petty theft to murder without blinking. They can all turn invisible as well. 

 

Fortunately, they are unable to cross the protective barrier of our threshold. I don’t know if that means that they can’t enter a house without invitation, whether they’re unable to enter any home, and in such a case what qualifies as a home, or if there’s a particular magical protection of our house. We haven’t figured that one out yet. The middle boy won’t go upstairs or downstairs alone (though he sure will raid the pantry on the main floor in the dark without anyone else!)

 

This is an ongoing development.  Our middle boy is a Púca/pookah, just like Harvey the Rabbit But in dinosaur form, our oldest is a Paladin, and we still haven’t quite figured out the youngest except that she’s fiery, blindingly smart, and charismatic. I’ll let you know. 

 

 

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I'm sorry for your loss :(

 

That pumpkin monster sounds hilarious though, and I'm glad that your boys help you to keep you distracted :).

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22 minutes ago, Waanie said:

I'm sorry for your loss :(

 

That pumpkin monster sounds hilarious though, and I'm glad that your boys help you to keep you distracted :).

 

Thanks, and me too! They’re very creative. And I can’t wait to start telling scary Pumpkin Monster stories around the fire when they’re old enough they won’t be utterly terrified. 

 

Maybe we’ll work it into our D&D campaign. 

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I'm sure you can make the pumpkin monster into a great combat encounter. Spawning giant pumpkins as obstacles, tendrils that immobilise, seed-spitter attacks, the possibilities are endless. I don't know if this helps their fear though, as I have no experience with children that age ;).

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4 hours ago, Waanie said:

I'm sure you can make the pumpkin monster into a great combat encounter. Spawning giant pumpkins as obstacles, tendrils that immobilise, seed-spitter attacks, the possibilities are endless. I don't know if this helps their fear though, as I have no experience with children that age ;).

 

Me neither. I talked with my wife about it last night on the way home. I want to make it more of an overarching villain of the series. My thought is that they’ll have more courage against a threat that they learn more about and defeat. 

 

I didn’t play tabletop games until I was 10. Mostly we were silly. But at 13 my best friend got cancer and games got darker.  We worked through some stuff and perhaps if anyone had any idea what they were doing, we would have worked through even more. 

 

If  nothing else we’re going to develop our family mythology!

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Homesteading update:

 

-Playset is about 50% complete an actually looks like a playset. Stuck until Digrite identifies electrical lines. Also did a 3-4 person step with just my wife and I while the kids napped all afternoon and it took a LOT longer than expected. 

 

-Compost pile is fully established. It’s officially expanded to be large enough to accommodate all of our lawn clippings, which I’ve painstakingly bagged, and ALL of our compostable food waste. Which has cut our garbage output roughly by a third, which was already cut in half by having access to recycling.  Meaning that overall, each week we’re now sending 1/3 of the volume to a landfill that we did just 10 months ago (adjusted for construction; we’re sending about 1/10 of our actual June volume since we’re no longer completing major remodels).

 

         I’m really proud of this, because I hated the amount of garbage we made at the other house and how difficult it was to successfully do anything there. My wife’s New Year resolution has been to use less plastic and we’ve been doing better with that too. It’ll be even better, though, when we can get our kids to actually bring Tupperware-style containers back home for reuse instead of playing with them at Grandma’s (which invariably involves losing them or exposing them to the dogs who love to chew plastic).

 

-Plants. The flax is starting to bloom, which the oldest planted and sadly the younger boy is convinced are weeds. Oy vey. Otherwise we’re pretty much stuck. I can’t wait to get the playset done and finish the rest of the planting this year. Before it’s too late. Most of the stuff this year is foundational and won’t give us anything for 1-5 years as we’re focusing on establishing fruit trees and bushes. Also, my wife wants cute shrubberies instead of the river cane. Which she’s right on because it’ll be more manageable but I’m still disappointed. 

 

It was a good weekend, though! We also got most of the new flats built for the show. I’ve got the two special angled flats to finish, plus the the platform arrangement. But we already have the platforms we need, and the kids will let them. 

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I know it’s still early on, but the weird grief emotions keep hitting me out of nowhere. Like during Endgame. Or just now while putting the toddler to bed (who just threw a stashed pacifier at me to cheer me up). I’ve familiar and expected sadness over the things we were all supposed to do together. Like maybe see a movie. Or how strong she always seemed-like a superhero. How she was fragile underneath all that time. Anger and betrayal at how and when she exited. Guilt for not seeing it coming or doing or or for any of numerous text messages I maybe could have returned faster. A hole. 

 

No relief. None. My wife’s aunt, 2 uncles, and grandma, my grandfather, my “second mom” (mother of my HS girlfriend and best friend from college), they were all in really bad shape. So much so that death was a sort of mercy. My (retired) friend Don from when I was in college died relatively suddenly, I believe from a stroke or heart attack. Another coworker at the same place now died of an aneurysm after we’d worked together for a couple of years. Still, they didn’t die instantly and suffered huge damage and there was some relief when they passed after that. 

 

No relief here, and a lot of guilt and anger. Along with some dark bewildered amusement at the fact that intellectual knowledge of hindsight being 20-20 doesn’t mean I get to skip over the guilt. Or, the fact that stupid Facebook didn’t even show me the life in pictures post o feel guilty for not flagging until after she was already gone. Or that I could be so angry with someone for killing themselves that I could kill them. Or Facebook. Actually, we might all be better off if we just kill social media. 

 

Was that part part of it? Did she think everyone else’s lives were so much better that we’d be better off without her? That her life was so awful because she spent too much time staring at pristine filtered photo snapshots of lives that present a perfect image and hide the flaws or drawbacks? Was it being alone physically away from family and friends? Was it that aching physical loneliness? That lovely human being had to have felt abandoned and alone and awful beyond fixing. She never said a word. Never let on for a second that she didn’t believe something was about to come through, even though I knew she was frustrated because after a year of job searching who wouldn’t be?

 

Who knew that Despair would kill someone who resoundingly defeated cancer and who celebrated that win every day?

 

I am incredibly bummed that I won’t be able to go to the funeral service. I want to talk with her sisters. I want to know more of what they found. They were just as shocked as everyone else. But maybe, even probably, there’s little to no more. Resolution is for stories, and sometimes we just don’t get it in life. Maybe we just celebrate the good, learn from the rest, and keep putting one foot in front of the other. 

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Note: mindfully learn from the rest. I’ve a huge amount of anxiety and emotional bad habits from learning the wrong lessons from things in the past. 

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Random aside. French is definitely a different language. Both seeing and hearing it, I can identify it immediately. It shares a lot with the other Romance languages that make it easier to learn knowing some of the others, but it’s quite distinct. (I basically never come across Romanian or Albanian at work).

 

I still have a really hard time, without appropriate context, distinguishing Italian and Portuguese from Spanish. If I hear them I can roughly understand what is going on; I definitely wouldn’t starve to death if stuck there but initially all I hear is heavily and strangely accented Spanish. The same goes for reading.  Part of my job entails reading largely Spanish emails because the outsourced group won’t touch anything except English. But we have Portuguese and Italian speakers as clients too, even if most are using some version of Spanish.  I can easily nail down German, Dutch, etc. but until I come across a word like “bambino” or “ “faça” that gives it away I’m reading one heck of a strange thing in Spanish for those Italian and Portuguese emails lol. 

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I just read this article, and it’s sadly comforting to know that my friend’s situation was common. That 50% of survivors of near fatal attempts considered the consequences of their actions for less that 5 minutes. That there was no way of knowing. 

 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2019/04/26/opinion/sunday/suicide-prevention.amp.html

 

Hasn’t stopped me from looking over her Facebook profile several times and scouring it for clues and reading what is probably way to much into everything. 

 

Sunday would have been her 50th birthday. Maybe that applied some pressure too. 

 

 

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On 4/29/2019 at 2:49 PM, Sciread77 said:

 Meaning that overall, each week we’re now sending 1/3 of the volume to a landfill that we did just 10 months ago

This is huge! We are all producing far too much waste, and it is nice that you can use recycling and a compost-pile to reduce the amount of garbage you have. 

 

I'm sorry that your loss is still hitting you so hard at random moments. Have you thought about counselling? There is no way to know why she did it, but a professional might help you with coping with it in a healthy manner.

 

Can we have garden pictures? I bet it is getting really beautiful now :).

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I'm so sorry you're struggling with your friend's death, but I can kind of empathize. You know that suburban homestead I mention now and again? I co-owned that with my previous husband. We had separated (a relatively friendly break up, but there was still a lot of anger and hurt feeling we were working through), and later--indeed, on the day we mailed in our divorce papers--he died suddenly in a combination of a car accident and aggravation of a congenital medical condition he had. (Either the medical condition caused the accident, or the accident caused the medical condition to trigger. The ME ruled the former, but honestly we'll never know for sure.) No, it wasn't suicide, and I understand it wasn't my fault, but I still lie awake at night wondering if I had done anything different in those intervening months, or even that day, if things would have turned out differently. The answer is probably no, or more specifically, I was one of a near infinite amount of factors that may or may not have changed anything about the perfect storm of events that coalesced into that horrible 30 seconds.

 

Still, sometimes I lie awake at night running through every possible factor in my head for the millionth time.

 

I once heard that the grief and confusion of death never goes away, but it's like standing on the edge of the ocean and the waves start huge and crashing and drowning, and eventually may be less turbulent--but there are still waves. These things are so immensely difficult and it's totally okay for you to take the time you need to process it.

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