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Call me crazy.  Call me a wannabe high schooler, but I love tv shows about high school.  Saved by the Bell, 90210, Dawson’s Creek, Glee.  I’ve always been a sucker for this slice of pop culture.  I remember telling my mom that I couldn’t wait to get to high school because something exciting happens every day.  I said this based on my practice of watching Saved by the Bell every day after elementary school.  It wasn’t true.  The exciting things happening part.  But, that doesn’t stop me from still loving that time period.

Ahhh…Glee.  High school AND pop songs AND songs from musicals.  What more can I girl ask for?   I cry every time I watch that show.  The music just gets to me.  I’ve been behind on the episodes.  So, I did it.  I finally watched the show.  In.  The.  Library.  I thought I’d be more embarrassed than I am.  But that show just makes me so happy.

 

 

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What I love about living on the Eastern Shore are the same things that are difficult about living here.  I love the calm of my soul that comes from living on the Bay, in almost isolation.  We have neighbors, but we are at least a fifteen minute drive from the nearest store.  I love living without internet. I can squeeze a signal out of my phone every now and then, but when my Facebook app feed can’t refresh, I’m a bit relieved.  I love time.  It seems like our time has multiplied since moving out here.  Time for gardening and chores around the house, and then time to spare.

But…don’t let me paint the rosiest of pictures.  It gets boring in the middle of so much peace.  A good portion of our neighbors are retirees.  Do you grow into needing more peace and quiet?  Maybe its a generational thing.  We are not retirees, but I feel we are living like them.  I was watching tv the other the night, and I accidentally switched the channel to a Coldplay concert at Austin City Limits.  Hundreds of twentysomethings were shouting and fist-pumping, cheering on Coldplay.  I want that.  I already did that though.  That’s what almost three years in San Francisco was.  And, honestly, it felt like chasing.  Chasing what I’m not sure, but more of something.  More fun, more excitement, more life.  I think that some people have learned to live well in a city without the chasing.  But, I don’t think I ever learned how to do that. There’s just so much, you can never get enough.  So, I guess I don’t want to go back to that kind of living, but I do miss it more than I realize.  Maybe I just miss Chris Martin.  I.  Love.  Coldplay.  Remember “I feel God with water?”  Ditto for Coldplay.

I miss people my age, too.  I went to a thirtyone party over the weekend.  Mostly middle-aged women attended.  I got a super awesome lunch-tote by the way.  When Wimbo, Caroline, and I moved to San Francisco, we said that we wanted to love people that were different than us.  I’m sure that we did, but most of our friends were people our exact same age and background.  Here, on the Eastern Shore, loving and being friends with different kinds of people may be less of an option.  It may be mandatory if we want to have any sort of community here.

Maybe the things that are that are difficult about living here have less to do with the place and more to do with the amount of time that we have been here.

So, today, my mother of 8 friend and I are going to head over to the master gardener’s home for a learning lab.  I’m not sure if she is a master gardener, and I’m not sure if she knows how much we need to learn from her, but I’m looking forward to it just the same.  Mildred.  Confession: I think I might end up being a diet gardener, because I don’t like weeding (thanks mom & dad for making me weed for punishment when I was growing up (just kidding, there are worse punishments)), I’m not going to like being outside when its over say, 90 degrees, even that might be pushing it, and I don’t really like getting dirty.  That’s embarrassing.  I think I can learn to handle getting dirty, but I’m just not used to it.  When, as an adult, does anybody actually get dirty?

This was the most that I’ve processed in a while.  What’s good about living here?  What’s hard?  Why are the hard things hard?

You know that scene in the movie Speed when the bus’s gas tank starts leaking?  The camera films the gas gauge on the driver’s panel, and the lever is plummeting towards the E.  I think my car has a gas leak like the Speed bus.  The Eastern Shore is 10 miles across and 70 miles long, so everything is spread out.  It takes anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour to get anywhere.  I think I’m getting used to it, everything except the frequent gas fill-ups.

My commute to Chesapeake for my almost-job (still shadowing) is one hour.  In San Francisco, I could walk to work.  The hospital was just over a mile from our apartment.  In Knoxville, I think I drove about three miles to get to work.  I don’t even want to know how many miles it is from our house in the country into suburbia.  But, call me crazy, I’m not minding it so much.  Driving down the Eastern Shore and over the bridge is really quite peaceful, and as soon as I get over the bridge, the culture shock of civilization distracts me for at least fifteen minutes.  Gregg drove me to work yesterday, and when we got over the bridge, he kept saying things like: “Krispie Kreme.”  “Starbucks.”  “Waffle House.”  The only chain stores that we have on the Shore are Wal-Mart (of course), Ace Hardware, some fast-food restaurants, and then there are some old-school department stores from the ’50s.  Peebles and Roses.  Funny, huh?  (Have I wrote about this before?)  The other day on my commute, I listened to the entire hour of NPR’s Morning Edition.  Now I’m completely up to date on the presidential primary race as well as every other important news story.  (Please don’t quiz me.)  And, I have a book on tape set in London.  Its chick lit in which all of the characters speak in a British accent.  Love it.

I don’t know.  I’m writing about this because the commute was the thing that I was worried about when I was contemplating the possibility of working across the bridge, and, I’m happy to say, its turning out okay.

Going to an almost-job has already changed my experience of living here.  I still don’t like that drained feeling that comes after a day’s work, but I’ll take it, since it means that my brain was working hard all day along with my legs and feet and heart.  I’m looking forward to the independence of sitting down and talking with patients on my own.  I remember student teachers during their last semester of college saying, “I’m just ready for my own classroom.”  I’m ready, too.  I’ve had my hand held long enough.  I am very aware that I don’t know everything about women’s health, but I’m ready to share what I do know with patients and ask questions when I need don’t know the answers.

When I first started working as a nurse in the hospital I was so terrified of making a mistake or looking stupid at work.  I’m still scared of that, but it seems lighter than it did back then.  After working with a particular charge nurse in California, I’m surprised I didn’t run and get a retail job as fast as I could.  There’s an expression that nurses eat their young.  Well she not only ate me, but she chewed me up and spit me out so she could do it all again.  That’s gross, sorry.  Seriously though, she almost destroyed my confidence, and I still think about her sometimes.  She was demeaning, condescending, rude.  And I was her special project.  I’m not thankful for that experience, but I think it is helpful for me to look back and see that I don’t react to criticism in the same way any more.  I still don’t like being corrected, but it doesn’t destroy me like it did back then.  It doesn’t ruin my day any more.  Yesterday, the doctor I’m working with corrected me, and I’m happy to say that it hurt my feelings for a little bit, but then I got over it.  I think this is what growing up feels like.

P.S.  I had this post already to go when I turned on the radio and heard various radio hosts talking about The Hunger Games.  I feel like I have to mention it just because not only are people talking about the craze of the movie itself and about how millions(?) of fans are rushing out to see the premier, they’re also talking, at least on the radio, about how it represents the destructive times that we are in and the kind of world that we are leaving for our children.  Yikes.  I honestly hadn’t thought about the books or the movie(s) like that.  I enjoyed reading the books and was thinking about seeing the movie, but I hadn’t thought about what The Hunger Games mean for us here and now.  Food for thought.

Happy Friday.

So, I realize that I’ve been completely silent on this issue. I bragged about Fun-employment for a month, and now its been almost two.  The deal is, I’ve had a series of disappointing interviews.  “We like you, but you’re not qualified.”  Great.

BUT!  I start shadowing on Monday.  Nothing is definite, but I’m very hopeful.  They gave me one of those W-4 tax forms.  Its an NP position at a private practice across the Bay.  This means that I will have an hour commute, BUT I’ll get to work in Women’s Health.  I may have gotten a less specialized degree if I knew we were moving to such a rural place, but I can’t go back now.  AND, I’ve been studying over the past couple of weeks.  Basically I’ve been re-learning what I already know, and I’ve been reassured.  I like what I’m re-learning.  HOORAY!  I don’t think I’d enjoy studying the more generalized stuff as much.

Not really sure how much to talk about work on here yet, but I wanted to give a mini-update on what was happening.

Happy St. Patty’s Day & Happy B-day to my Nini!

“I feel God with water.”  This is what I said to Gregg as we were walking along the beach the first week that we moved here.  It sounded simple, but I meant it and I still mean it.  I also feel God with flowers.  Reading about gardening and flowers this morning, trying to pump my brain full of new information, I feel God.  Its His world, His creation, His design.  Planting, sowing, watering, pruning, growing.    What a metaphor.

Gregg moved the majority of his chicks to greener and wider pastures.  They had been in our shed.  All 220 of them.  He brought several back to the shed because they were either too small or they were getting pecked by the other birds.  The other day he let them roam around the backyard and watched over them while eating pistachios.  When it was time to bring them back into the shed, they took off.  It seemed near impossible to herd them.  Two of them started making a nest near the marsh behind our house, not wanting to go where it was warm and dry.  Not wanting to accept the food and water Gregg gives them in the shed.  I was laughing while Gregg was chasing these little baby chickens around the yard.   He eventually had to crawl through the sea oats and snag them.  I think there’s another analogy/metaphor here, but I don’t feel like going into it.

English: This is an image of a bee swarm. I ma...

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Along with chick-tending, Gregg may take on another venture.  Beekeeping. Recently, he went to a beekeeper’s workshop.  He wants to keep bees for their honey.  Duh.  He was telling me the different ways to get bees for your hive.  1. Buy them from a bee dealer and receive a box of bees in the mail.  He’s received 300 baby chicks in the mail, but somehow a box of bees sounds a little scarier.  2. Purchase bees from a local beekeeper.  3.  Catch a swarm.  Of course, he wants to catch a swarm of wild bees.  And, luckily, there’s a man in town who has been known to catch swarms.  It’s become his M.O.  The swarm catcher.  I might butcher this but I’m going to give it a try.  When bees swarm, that means they leave their hive and fly off in search of another hive.  They set up an in-between place to live up in the trees.  The “scouts” venture out from the tree-nest to find the next place to set up their hive.  Each scout comes back and dances for the queen.  The dance signifies that they have found a good place.  The queen then decides which dance she likes the best, and the bees travel to the winner’s chosen place to set up their new hive.  Evidently, to catch a swarm, you can either summon the bees down from the tree, box them up, and take them home.  Or, you can lure the bees to your house using pheromones.  These pheromones will guarantee that the scout that comes to your house will dance the most queen-satisfying dance.  My apologies to any bee experts if I totally butchered the explanation of a swarm.  I tried my best.

So…we might become beekeepers.

Ironically, the day that Gregg decided he wanted to become a beekeeper, I decided that I wanted to knit a beekeeper’s quilt.  This is going to take forever, but, right now, all I’ve got is time.

P.S.  I’m having trouble posting pictures onto my posts.  Wikipedia will let me, but otherwise, no can do.  Tips?

 

I think my blog is like a prayer.  I do not say this in a braggy way but in a thankful one.  I want to start a garden, right? Since our yard is full of shade-giving trees, I thought a community garden might be the way to go. I have a young-at-heart neighbor with 8 kids, and I thought she might be a good person to ask about a garden.  I had been nervous to knock on her door and ask for her thoughts.  While walking the dogs today, guess who comes pouring out of her house?  My young-at-heart neighbor.  We chatted about this and that, and then I asked her about my community garden idea.  She smiled and almost shouted that she’d been trying to get one started for years.  Yes!

She said that her problem in the past has been the deer.  Several years ago just when her tomatoes were ripe, the deer jumped her not-so-sturdy fence and consumed all her ripe veggies.  We need a fence and a fence builder to keep out these pests, and then we will be set to go.

The plan is to have one in her backyard.  I was secretly hoping that she would offer the use of her backyard, since she lives right across the street.  Not even a community garden, just our garden, for our families.  My family of two and her family of ten (!).  I have a partner, which I have needed for gardening, since, like I mentioned before, I’m clueless.  AND she knows of another neighbor that can be our gardening mentor.  Mildred.  I can’t resist recording her name for all to see.

So, today.  I found a friend, a partner, a mentor.  And hope.  God’s listening to me.  Even to my simple requests like…I want a garden.

Last week before my friend Julie left for Mozambique, she asked me if I had been able to trust that God has a good plan for me.  I had a hard time responding.  Sometimes I can trust. I depend on my circumstances and my feelings to be reassured that I am being taken care of.  I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  How??  How can you be content whatever the circumstances?  I know that people have been giving thanks and counting their thousands of gifts lately.  I’m sure that they are onto something.

I’m thankful for my dogs.

I’m thankful to live by the water.

I’m thankful for time to write.

I’m thankful for the desire to write.

I’m thankful that Gregg has the chance to farm.

I’m thankful for treasures to be found on the beach.

I’m thankful for my first friend date that I had yesterday.

I’m thankful for feeling close to my friends even though they are far away.

I’m thankful for the sunshine and the blue sky.

I’m thankful that my family is safe and healthy.

I’m thankful for this sunroom and for this space heater.

Confession: my thought after the tenth gift was: is that how you do it?  Did I do it right?  Silly.

I’m thankful for time, which I hardly ever have, but I have now.

The more I give thanks, the more thankful I am.  But some things just suck.  One time my small group in San Francisco gave thanks for what was going poorly in their lives.  After each person shared, we questioned if giving thanks was the correct response.  I don’t think we came to an answer.  Sometimes, I’m sure that give thanks for poor circumstances is the appropriate response, but what is making a change or asking for a change is even better?

I’m thankful for coffee.  Really.

I’m thankful when Gregg and I just be together.

I have confess that I am a city girl.  I think that the country is good for my soul, but there a lot of aspects of country living that elude me.  Gardening.  I do not know how to garden.  Its so not as easy as throwing seeds in the ground.  At least not for me.

Baking bread.  Every attempt of mine has been a massive failure.  Yeast and I simply do not get along.  What am I doing?  I’m naming the activities that I think a farmer’s wife should be able to do well.  I’m a good learner, but I need a teacher to get me started on a couple of how-to’s of farmer’s wife living.  Quilting is another thing I want to do, but I need to be taught how to do it.  I’m not as hard on myself about this one because I feel like it is a craft that needs to be honed.  Gardening and bread making seem to me like they should be no-brainers.

A man and his chickens.

I feel like a farmer’s wife should be a do-it-yourselfer.  And I want to be a do-it-yourselfer.  I just need to learn.  Meg was my knitting teacher initially and then YouTube took over where she left off.  My mom was actually my sewing teacher, “Thread the bobbin,” etc.  YouTube took over for her as well.

Writing this blog has made me want to set goals for myself.  The goals of a farmer’s wife and otherwise.  But I get intimidated to set goals in such a public forum and not meet them.  One reason I probably want to set goals is my friend E.  She’s my blog guru.  E sets goals for herself, posts them on her blog and then talks about her progress.  Sometimes she meets her goals and sometimes she doesn’t.  She invites her readers into the process.  Picture me with a big fake smile and a cheesy voice: Its more about the joy in the journey than the end result.  Cheesy but true.

I had been intimidated by this public goal setting when I wrote my Lent post, but, now I’m going to put it all out there.  During Lent, after asking a series of questions, I decided to focus on peace and friendship.  Instead of giving up something, I’m doing something.  For peace, I’m reading scripture every day.  Even if its only one word.  I set the bar very low for myself, so that I could actually commit.  For friendship, I’m talking to friends on the phone (at least two a week).  I’m also trying to reach out to one soon-to-be friend here on the Eastern Shore each week.  This is much more of a challenge.

E has lists of goals that she’s cleverly named 30 before 30 and 12 in ’12.  I think I’ll call mine the Bucket List of a Farmer’s Wife.  I’m not sure what my time frame should be.  Maybe I should go in seasons like a farmer.  Also, I think with me and goals, less is more.  When I try to do and commit myself to too much, failure is imminent.

Winter 2012:

Learn how to make bread.

Finish knitting my sweater.

Spring 2012:

Create a garden.

Summer 2012:

Tend the garden and eat from the garden.

Make a wearable item of clothing with the sewing machine.

Fall 2012:

Make a quilt.

For the year:

Stick to a budget without going crazy.

Volunteer.

Make friends.

Find a church.

Read an intimidating classic. (Originally, I wanted to read one each season, but…I’m just too intimidated.)

Feel comfortable and confident as a Nurse Practitioner.

Run/walk/bike/do yoga consistently.  Not all of these, just be active consistently.

I read somewhere that writing down your goals can actually prevent you from achieving them.  “They” said that its as if your brain feels as if you have achieved your goal because you said it out loud or wrote it down.  Hopefully this won’t be the case for me.

I know that achieving goals does not equal happiness.  And I don’t want to go into this goal-setting process with that attitude.  How do I want to think of them?  Just as life-enhancing-activities or soul-stretching-hobbies or I don’t know.  I’d like to make my life and the lives of those around me better by moving towards these goals.

I hate taking out the trash.  As in, I won’t do it.  What I will do is bag it up, take the bag out of the trashcan, and set it by the door.  Could I be any more obvious?

Gregg and I have kitchen issues.  He likes hearty meals, while I like lighter fare.  Since I haven’t been working, I’ve been cooking more than usual.   Last night was my best hearty meal yet.  I think it was a success because it tasted like a McDonald’s hamburger.

My library “spending” sprees are not cutting it any more.  I want to go shopping for real.  We have so many antique stores and a handful of thrift stores in the area.  I’ve got to go.

I had a job interview across the Bay.  I surprised myself when I was excited pass shopping centers filled with stores like Target, Barnes & Noble, Buffalo Wild Wings, and TJMaxx.  Even the Y got me excited.  Like I said, we have some thrift stores on the Shore, but not much else.  There’s a Wal-Mart 40 minutes away and two old-school department stores called Peebles and Roses.  Can you see why Target and TJMaxx thrilled me?  I really  want this job.

I’m late for midweek confessions.  Two weeks in a row.

Last week I emailed a friend of a friend that lives on the Eastern Shore.  I was so awkward.  “So….Um…if you want to and if you have time…could we…like…um…hang out?  I know you’re busy…but…if you want…maybe…you want to…uh…be…friends…?”  Obviously, I didn’t write that in an email, but that’s how I felt.  Like a stuttering sixteen year old boy asking a girl to go out with me.  She responded, by the way, and invited Gregg and I to attend church with her family.  Woo Hoo!  We’re in!  They want to be friends!

Making friends after college is quite the challenge.  There’s no sororities or clubs or weekly get togethers organized by someone older than you to force you into friendship.  So, after college I have ended up being desperate and brave.  I’m sure there are other reasons why friendship becomes harder as we get older.  More responsibilities and commitments.  Grown-up concerns like bills and budgets and marriage.  Do we become less brave as we get older as well?  I’m not sure.  I think that when I was younger, I used to be more friendly to strangers than I am now.  I’m not sure all of the whys, but it does seem to be more difficult.

I just thought of another reason!  Different life stages.  In college, everyone (mostly) is single.  Everyone is at the same place in life, talking about the same things, thinking about the same things.  End of story.  After college, people start to get married and have babies all at different paces.  I think this makes friendship more difficult.  I’m still not quite sure how to be friends with a mom with three kids, even if she is my age.  She probably doesn’t know how to be friends with me either.  We CAN be friends, but isn’t it easier to have friends with people in your same life stage?  I think this life stage difficulty is true for new friends, whereas with friends that have been around for awhile, the life stage doesn’t matter as much.  

Going to Sunday school at the Baptist Church. ...

Not the church we visited.

We were invited to a Baptist Church.  I never thought “Baptist Church” and “Gregg and I” would be used in the same sentence.  There was Sunday School for young adults and a Baptism (5 to be exact) and a Church Lunch.  Everyone was just as friendly as the members of the other church we visited.  There were a couple of differences though.  It was packed.  Maybe because of the baptisms, but there was hardly an empty seat in the house.  Also, there were “young adults.”  After Sunday School, we got to talking to a few of them, but then we got separated before we could exchange any contact info.  Please let me make a friend today, I was thinking.

From Sunday School, we moved on to the worship service where the baptisms were taking place.  During the Baptism, the floor of the altar opened up to reveal a tub of water under the stage.  The pastor and the baptisees were waist deep in the water with only their top half exposed.  We were in the back of the church and couldn’t see a thing.  I have to confess.  (Maybe I should save this for Wednesday.)  During the Baptism, I was getting kind of woe is me.  I was missing our Knoxville church and our Knoxville friends.  And, (getting very honest here), it seemed like every woman over the age of 25 had a baby or two or three.  Woe is me.  Gregg encouraged me to stand up and watch.  Guess what?  I got out of my woe is me thinking and listened to the stories of those getting baptized.  Amazing that thinking about other people can get me out of myself.

As church was ending, I stole a pencil from the pew ahead of us.  I was determined to get some digits from some “young adults”.  We were off to Church Lunch.  And we were off to making…friends!  For Gregg and I, there were  definitely some awkward moments when we found ourselves standing against the wall and looking around wondering what to do next.  But, we had some lovely get-to-know-you conversations during lunch.  We even got to talk to the pastor.  And, as lunch was ending, I was handed a piece of paper with two phone numbers and an email address.  I could just cry.  Not really.  I provided my contact information in return and left Church Lunch walking on air.  I even returned the unused stolen pencil to the Sanctuary.  I had used my friend’s pen to write down my contact info.

P.S. On the Eastern Shore, everyone is connected.  Everybody knows everybody.  For example, the woman that conducted one of my interviews used to babysit Gregg’s boss’s daughter.  Here’s another one.  Gregg’s boss’s wife is best friends with one of the greeters we met at church yesterday.  The greeter is the mother-in-law of the friend that invited us to church.  Do you like how I’m not naming any names?