Mad Gardener

Yes, I AM the Mad Gardener

How I Named My Brother’s Car “Dammit”

Because I could use a little levity, I’ll share this story with you.

I think I’ve mentioned before that my younger brother is very ADHD. He is so much so that when he was younger, we made a game based off of it called Free Association. To play, you had to get from one object to an unrelated other object by words of association. I’ll give you an example. Kumquats to Kublia Khan:

Origin of Orange
Kublia Khan

That, of course was too easy, so we started adding words you had to go through before you could get to the end. Our favorite was the French Revolution.

All of this is relevant to the story.

Changing topics, my brother recently bought his first car. Our family has a tradition of naming our cars based on the model. My brother, being different, named his Bob. A few weeks later he decided he didn’t like that name after all, so he decided to change it. After some deliberation, he decided on ‘Cody’. Unfortunately, my mother is somewhat hard of hearing, and she thought he said ‘Colby’. When she told me, she confided that all she could think of was cheese. I said in that case a better name would be Jack, as in Monterrey Jack, and well, it went from there. Here is our free association to Dammit:

French Cheese
The French Revolution
Wars in France
Cheese from Normandy
Monterrey Jack
Monterrey, California
Aunt Janet (a relative that lives in CA)
Dammit, Janet (Rocky Horror)

And that is how it happened. Incidentally, my brother doesn’t like is calling his car Dammit. I wonder why.


Return of the Revenge of the Mad Gardener

It is once again weed ripping season, and it seems I’m the only one who has even a minimal amount of time to do so (despite being the only member of the household that works 40 hours a week). I am not writing this post to complain, however. I’m writing it to show off my new hat! I can’t remember if I ever showed you all the old mad gardener hat. I loved it to death. The only problem with it was that it actually belonged to my mother. For some reason she didn’t seem to want me decorating it or wearing it around the house or anything fun like that. I might or might not have mentioned that I was given my own hat for Christmas. Now, it’s not as nice a hat as the one my mother has, but I that’s okay since I can decorate this one.

This is the hat in question. As you can see, I haven't done that much to it, just added a chin strap and a bit of decoration. Nothing too much, right?

Nothing outrageous, just a little fashion. Though I suppose I should let you see the decoration I added to it.

Yes, those are peacock feathers. They make me incredibly happy.

I attached the peacock feathers to a beautiful broach given to me by one of my friends. I love my hat more than I can express; I just have to be careful not to take it out when it’s windy.

As an aside I’ll talk about writing for a little bit. My interview over at Dagan Books is live. You can read it here. I’ve written a novella for a contest. When the contest is finished, I’m going to turn it into a novel. On a related note, I’ve discovered I can write 30,000 words in a month if I try. At the same time I have to ignore the little things, like friends, family and regular bathing (that last one was a joke). Back to the point of the matter, though. What I’m trying to say is that hopefully by the end of summer I will have the completed first draft of a novel I never intended to write. Yipee!

Remember, the novel you end up writing is probably the one that ambushed you and draged you off by the throat.

Please comment; comments make me feel loved.

An Old Tree (aka-TIMBER!)

I know I promised you all photos from Vacation Bible School, and they will be forthcoming. As soon as mom sends them to me like she’s been promising for more than a week now. My family owns two houses. The “old house” is the one I lived in until the age of 10 or 12. We then built our current house and let my grandmother and uncle rent the old place. Unfortunately over the past 10+ years, the place has fallen into something of a disrepair. I tried to keep up with the outside of the place a little while my grandmother was alive (or as much as I could over ever busy summer breaks). Needless to say my efforts were not nearly enough, though I’d like to think they kept the building from falling apart entirely.

As many of you know, my grandmother died this past spring. My family now needs to get the old house ready to put up onto the market. There are so many projects over there that it boggles the mind. I will have to scrape, sand and paint all the trim and all the fittings. I’ll need to remove a air conditioning unit, frame the hole, patch it, and generally make it look okay (that air conditioner has been defunct since my parents bought the place, and my parents added central air when I was very young). I’ll also need to totally redo the back porch area.

Something that needed to be taken care of rather soon, though, was taking down the old mimosa tree.

A lot has already gone by this point, but here's the tree.

It was one of my favorites while I was growing up. I’d almost call it one of the family. Unfortunately it died at the end of the season two years ago. So in an effort to start the clean up at the old house, I organized a work force to take it down (re: Me, my mother, mom’s best friend, my best friend and her boyfriend).
That tree is big enough that it would still have been a challenge to climb today.

That tree is big enough that it would still have been a challenge to climb today.

Surprisingly, though the bark was coming off, the wood of the tree wasn’t rotted at all. With a couple chain saws and quite a bit of elbow grease we manhandled the tree down without knocking down power lines or putting a hole in the roof of the old house.

And there we go. With the exception of that bit sticking up the tree is gone.

There’s a large stump left in the lawn, but we didn’t have a saw that could handle it, so we left it. Mom also ripped up the edging from around her old garden. I’ll mow over the weeds there later.

Remember, chainsaws are ALWAYS a good idea.

Please Comment.

Graduation (aka-Revenge of the Mad Gardener and Other Things)

I’ve waited four long and grueling years to stand up and proudly say that I am a graduate of the College of William and Mary. I finished my last semester with the best grades yet (all B’s-many of my fellow students would be horrified that there weren’t any A’s). I graduated a week ago last Sunday. Why haven’t I posted before this though? Why because I was on a whirlwind tour of the east coast.

The Tuesday after graduation my family embarked on one of the most tiring travel experiences I’ve ever been on. Two long days in the car up to Massachusetts, two days with relatives, then two days back down to Virginia. I was very, very tempted to do away with at least one member of my family (there were five of us in the van, and that was at least one too many). I refrained, however, and we made it back to Virginia in one piece, more or less. Our finances are less than ideal at the moment, but the situation is being helped by the fact that my Dad is now down in Florida trying to keep BP’s oil out of the coastal National Parks (and getting paid rather well to do so).

So what am I doing? I am currently waiting to see if I have a job with the National Park Service as an entrance station attendant. I very much hope to get the job-they’ve called my references, which is a good sign, but the called almost a week ago, which isn’t a good sign. In the mean time I’ve been trying to keep busy around the house. This does include watering all the plants mom has inside, as well as some new ones she has outside. It also includes ripping out weeds (when I don’t have the misfortune of being relegated to watering duty). Dandelions are the most annoying; they have a really deep root-one of the ones I just pulled out was almost six inches long (and probably would have been had I been able to get down all the way to the tip of the root). Yes, the Revenge of the Mad Gardener is here.

I’ve also been writing. If you’ve been keeping tabs over on the Lighthouse Refuge Forums you’ll realize that I’ve started a new writing project. I’ve decided to give the short stories a break for a bit and try to get a novel started. I’ve done a good bit of plotting so far, but I am worried about it. I’ll probably ask a few people to beta the plotting before I start actually writing. I’ll still be working on my list of short stories-they all need to be heavily edited-but they aren’t as important as getting the novel started (the hardest part of writing is getting started, but that’s another post for another time)

I’m not sure I’m going to be posting every day like I used to. It eats up far too much time. I will hopefully be posting on a more regular basis, though. Please poke me on Lighthouse, Shocktotem, or Twitter if I don’t. Thanks!

Remember, there is no such thing as justifiable homicide, even if the person really, really deserves it.

Please comment!

Relevant Questions (aka-Does Carmen Sandiego use Uhaul?)

It is now time for another segment of Relevant Questions. Please remember, these are questions that have come up in my every day life.

Q: Is it really lucky if a missile lands in one piece?
A: That depends. What happens to it after it lands? Every missile lands, but how long it stays intact after that is the real question.

Q: Is it okay to refer to working with younger kids as “herding cats”?
A: Always. In fact, my favorite phrase to use when describing what it’s like to get kids to move is that it’s “like herding cats across water”.

Q: Kleenex can kill 99.9% of what?
A: According to my brother, it’s babies.

Q: Do states rights usually come in a bottle?
A: Yes, but only in the south.

Q: Can you steal free vegetables?
A: Yes, please do. Especially the cucumbers and zucchini.

Q: Did Carmen Sandiego use a Uhaul?
A: No, she sprung for Mayflower. A Uhaul would be too small to transport all the lakes in the state of Michigan.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.

I have to credit my younger brother with a good number of the questions above. I have to say, his ADHD does indeed make life interesting. Some of the funnier things we’ve ever come up with involve Swedes with amphetamines, it would be absolute hell to golf here (said on the side of a mountain), and the Random Association Game (one of our favorite games when we’re board). Yes, I can say he’s gotten better (and funnier with age), and isn’t nearly as annoying as he used to be. He can still be a pain, but he’s my brother (this means only I can beat him up, and yes, I have threatened people to stay away from him. I’m sure anyone with a younger sibling understands).

The most exciting thing that happened today (if you can really call it exciting) was helping mom process vegetables. Yes, this is a byproduct of the mad gardening crew. My mom’s best friend (mad gardener extraordinaire) has a huge garden, and she gives us vegetables. Today we dealt with an abundance of green peppers and corn (by the way, we have enough corn for several years to come). Processing the corn involves blanching it (boil, then quickly cool) and then cutting it off the cob. After you bag it, you have to suck the air out of it so that it doesn’t get freezer burn. All I have to say about that fiasco is that 1) I am far too nit picky for mom’s taste (making sure all the bugs are out) and 2) corn kernels in the lung hurt.

I did another edit to Calling Down the Rain doing some of the additions that I’d hoped for. I am really looking forward to hear what Mornara has to say about this round of edits. I know that there are probably things that could be done better (and I’m sure she’ll tell me about them), but I think I’m getting to the end of the editing road. I think I’m going to call it finished tomorrow, no matter what anyone else says. So, one more round of edits, and that’s it. And then it’s off to Goodnight Earth.

Remember, mad gardening can cause injuries to the person, so take the necessary precautions to keep you and your family safe.

I’d really like some comments right about now. Please?

Battle Log 005

Begin Transmission

It’s OVER! The long ordeal has finally finished. And though the girls made a spectacular effort to poison the entire camp with what they did through today’s lunch, I’m glad to say they failed on all counts (Is sent the girls to go clean the bathrooms before they started; in hind site maybe I should have done it afterward, but they were wound up enough that I was glad I didn’t wait. And I’m assuming Lysol is bad for the average human digestion.)

So, after chopping all the vegetables that needed to be chopped, I sent the girls out to play/burn off energy. Lunch was good (one of the leaders made an interesting observation: more kids are eating salad now than they were nine years ago. It’s something that makes me smile :D) and afterward the kids went to do S’mores. While they were gone, the other leaders and I sat down to frantically try to sort out the photos I’d been given of the girls. I thing we did alright and got the right photos to the right girls. At least I hope so. When the girls got back, they had some more free time in which they came up with end of week skits. Those were somewhat entertaining.

And then it was done. The girls were gone and we were left to clean up the very little there was left to pick up. We ended up making a plant drop (another famous pass time of the Mad Gardening Team) at the local thrift store with all the plants the girls hadn’t taken home (vegetable plants that were donated to us.) And then we came home. Unloading the car went fast, and we conned my brother into vacuuming the car. I guess all that’s left to do now is wash the dirty dishes (and with any luck I’ll con my brother into doing that too!) If not I’ll do them tomorrow. After I sleep in. I’m not planning on being up before noon. I’m sure I’ll have a plethora of other neglected things to do as well. Especially with Pennsic coming up in a week. Oh, did I mention I was going away for a week starting next week? Yeah, the largest SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) event on the east coast will be starting this coming week. I’m going to the second week of it. It’ll be fun. And I’ll try to get some writing done. We won’t have electricity or internet, though, so while a select few of you might get phone calls (you know who you are) don’t expect any contact otherwise. Blogs will resume at a regular pace after the week.

On the writing front, I’ll most likely be doing most of the work that needs to be done tomorrow, after I’ve had some sleep. That is not to say that I won’t be working on it today, but I’m really not in peak condition to be reworking a story that I have high hopes for getting published. So, in deference to my poor story, I will only be doing some light work on it today, and I’ll wait till Anansi has visited me to work with the majority of it. Poor story.

Remember, if at first they don’t succeed, the juniors WILL try to kill again. Only on a grander scale.

Comments might keep me awake. Can I have comments? Please? Pretty please?

Planned (aka-Oh, my poor spinning head)

So today has been busy. Really busy. I woke up late again, which isn’t a complete surprise since I went to bed at 2am. What did surprise me was the backache I found as soon as I crawled out from between my covers. Popping my back didn’t help. Deciding I might be able to walk it off I started about my morning routine. That’s when I discovered my mother had slept even later than I had (I actually went to check to make sure she was okay. She doesn’t normally sleep late. Thankfully she was just sleeping). I had actually thought of doing a return of the Mad Gardener since today was the subdivision work day. I awoke too late, though, and so promptly hopped onto the computer to do more work on the Girl Scout stuff.

And that, my dear friends, has been how I spent the majority of my day. Planning for next week. You’ll be getting daily battle logs instead of your usual blogs. I have a ton of special needs girls in my group, so I might not be doing everything quite like I’m used to. We have a diabetic, a girl who can’t eat anything we make, a girl who needs the bathroom every two hours..the list goes on and on. The icing on the cake is the autistic girl. Like I said. Battle logs. I’ll be lucky to make it out of this next week with what little sanity I have left. I do intend to hand off as many tasks to other people as I can. I’ve got three helpers (only two of whom will be there full time), surely they can pick up some of the responsibility. I’m not old enough to deal with all this on my own yet!

In other news, we have three new members at the Fifthwind Forum, and I must gloat a little that they’re all my recruites. AND! One of them is the wonderful author of the piece Necromancy for Novices. I must cheer. The second is the author of another piece I liked The Baykok. Go say hi to them. Also say hi to Silviril. She’s a good friend of mine, one I’ve known online longer than I’ve been a member of The Fifthwind (she also, incidentally, has an inferiority complex about her work when she’s actually a spendid writer). So, to all of you who have yet to go spam dA DO IT! We have need of new blood.

On the story front we have..nada. I’ve done absolutely nothing so far today on any stories. Like I said before, I spent the entire day planning for next week, so I really didn’t get to do anything I wanted to do. Before I start the next short story, I also have several projects for Mornara. I have to write a book review which, depending on how professional a review she wants, could take anywhere from 3-5 days (that’s if I have to reread the book). She also wants a analysis of the Tarot card archytypes in literature. That’s going to take a while as well. All in all, the projects will probably take me to August. I have to have them done by then because I leave for Pennsic. So realistically, I might not get to start Goodnight Earth until after I get back from Pennsic. I really hope to start sooner, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Remember, betting pools on whether I’ll make it through next week or not are strongly discouraged.

Comments encourage me to write faster. Really. I swear.