We're having a quiet first night this year - tacos for dinner and s'mores later by the fire. Maybe I'll let myself enjoy a glass of wine. :)

This time last year I was in New York with J and Mer. I haven't seen much of them lately... it's been, what, three months? A damn shame. I need to get up there and see them soon.

Something else I just realized - remember that photo-a-day project I was talking about earlier this week? Yeah. It starts tomorrow. Holy crap. Guess I'll be spending some of tonight creating another site to host my photos. I'll have a link ready for you guys tomorrow, thought it might be a work in progress for a week or so.
     
 
 
My! Orders! Start! January 9!

HGABFHAPGHAPGHSUTPHEANAPF APEREHF!!!

And another happy announcement: Theseus got confirmation that the fire department letters were mailed yesterday. So we'll hear something on that by the end of this week!

I'm so happy and relieved - I might throw up! Now I can stop feeling guilty for buying a coffee before school or worrying how expensive diapers are. Theseus and I have been waiting anxiously for this news for weeks (months, actually) and now, finally...

Because of the time I've already spent on mobilization orders within the US, I only have 250 days on my "clock." So that's about 8 months; if my math is correct, these orders should carry me to September 15. And that's perfect, because it will almost seamlessly lead into the fall semester (there's a little overlap, but I'll make it work). I know I still owe you all a post about that - maybe tomorrow? It feels a little easier to write about school now that I know I'll have employment to back up the committment.

As far as the fire department, we don't know what exactly it means for us - we don't know when Theseus would start, where/how long he'd have to go for training, what the hours would be like, etc. But knowing is always better than not knowing, and I am confident we will be able to tackle whatever new challenges it brings.

Wow. I really feel lighter. This has been a fantastic day. :)

- Antiope

 
 
I've been away - you probably noticed. A number of trains were rushing toward me and after the resulting, continuous, obvious train wreck, I mentally walked away. I had no other choice. I'd never felt so overwhelmed, so completely drained, so physically tired, so naggingly sick.
    
 
 
This is where I am. I can't sleep. My fingertips are chewed down to nothing. My hair is falling out. My head/chest cold won't go away. I think I can feel an ulcer developing.

Go see this one and that one - Is there a position? - gather the necessary paperwork - tie up loose ends, things I'd been neglecting - go see some more - talk and talk and talk, explain. Sit and wait and hope.

Search and apply, search some more, apply. Postings in MA, NJ, GA. Posting in Twin Falls, ID. Nationwide postings. Attach resume. Sit and wait and hope.

I'm trying to stay calm - like I said, I'm not quite at the panic stage yet. But I can see it on the horizon, and that worries me immensely. I'm no good at sitting, waiting, hoping.

- Antiope

 
 
Some facts:
- Austin will be 6 months old next Friday
- My breastfeeding goal was 6 months
- The fall semester of school has started
- Theseus' school schedule requires Austin to be in day care twice a week (9 hours total)
    
 
 
On a scale of 1-10, I'd give this year's garden a 4: a 6 for effort and a 2 for results. So, a 4.

That's not good (let's face it, it's pretty terrible), but I've made peace with it. We really didn't know what we were doing, and we went about a lot of things the wrong way. I wasted $74 in heirloom seeds and only have some starchy corn and a few sad bell peppers to show for it. All the zucchini, cucumbers and tomatoes that produced decently were all purchased at Home Depot after the heirloom seedlings failed.

Some of the major failures, and their reasons (as far as I can tell):
- pumpkins: squash vine borer
- acorn squash: squash vine borer
- hubbard: squash vine borer
- crooknecks: squash vine borer
- butternut: squash vine borer
- zucchini: eventually, yes, squash vine borer
- cucumbers: fertilizer burn/possibly squash vine borer
- watermelon: (unknown)
- potatoes: blight (wish I were kidding)
- eggplant: unknown tiny black beetles
- cabbage: unknown beetles
- strawberries: overcome by weeds/apathy
- sweet peas: swift death, reasons unknown
- peppermint: (unknown)
- soy beans: (unknown)
- heirloom tomatoes: possibly bad gardening soil/unknown
- celery: overcome by weeds/apathy

Really, it's a good thing we weren't trying to live off the garden. It became, unfortunately, a novelty - try this salsa we made with the (Home Depot) cherry tomatoes! - rather than a reliable source of food.

But the more I read (I've been reading a lot about gardening lately), the less sad about it I feel. It would be like trying to make a shirt or a pair of pants without ever bothering to learn how to sew properly. Sure, I could cut some fabric and crudely stitch the pieces together into something vaguely resembling an article of clothing, but it wouldn't be very good, and it wouldn't be very reliable. This was my (our) garden this year. So how can I feel bad when, really, things grew in spite of us, not because of us? It was all wrong from the very beginning. I should eat our (severely over-salted) pickles and be happy to have them.

Next year will be different. Although this year was a near-total fail (rating it a 4 is being generous, in truth), I will always think of it with a mix of fondness and frustration. Why didn't I pick up a damn book sooner?!

- Antiope

 
 
Here it is!

[This is long.]
    
 
 
I mentioned a few posts ago that The Omnivore's Dilemma arrived and that I was looking forward to exploring more of Michael Pollan's work - he's such a great writer, and what he says really resonates with me. I finished the book a couple weeks ago and have started reading another Pollan book (more on that another time).

[warning: this post is kind of long]
    
 
 
Recently I found a small stack of letters Theseus wrote to me when he was in basic training. Reading through them made me happy - Theseus can be very sweet and sensitive when he wants to be. ;)

But we haven't sent each other any letters since he's been deployed; traditional paper letters can take over a week to make it across the Atlantic. We are able to talk on the phone every day, and most days we also exchange messages on Facebook. As our time on the phone is limited, we use these messages to hold longer discussions, exchange passwords and other important information, communicate sudden ideas or thoughts that normally could be sent via text message or quick phone call. The messages have become an essential means of interaction; each morning, the very first thing I do is check for anything he sent while I was sleeping.
    
 
 
I did it! I picked out my classes today, registered for them (with help from a very sweet woman at the satellite campus) and got a list of my books.

It was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be. I tend to get flustered when presented with a lot of paperwork or a lot of options, but Ms. J broke the degree requirements into segments, so I only had to decide between 5 or 6 courses at a time.