Day 145 – 2,024 Words/Day Process Log – Garden Tasks

I save the heavy lifting in my garden for the weekend. That’s when I transplant, weed and fertilize and start seeds. The weekdays are for watering and overall maintenance. I’ll note in my gardening notebook what’s flowering and look over the garden to catch any problems before they get too far.

It’s an ebb and flow.

Just like summer is a busy time, fall is a different type of activitiy. I’m already looking to how I want my fall garden to progress. As a beginner gardener, I planted anything that was pretty. Now I’m looking at the foods that I eat on a regular basis, for example, carrots.

I eat carrots every day as part of my breakfast. It’s a way that I know I’ve eaten at least one vegetable before the world interrupts. But I’ve never successfully grown carrots. That’s on the list for experimentation for the fall/winter.

I’ve grown collards which is the traditional vegetable that my family eats as part of Sunday dinner and on New Year’s Day. The problem with collards, though, is that they’re dirty and they take a lot of work to cook. If I can solve those two major issues, we can eat homegrown collards on a weekly basis.

The garden is not a set it and forget it kind of endeavour. At least it’s not for me. It’s relaxing to walk the garden, inspect the tomato leaves while hearing the chatter of red cardinals. The birds are up and so am I.

At the least, I’ll run my fingers along the herbs in my garden and smell them on my fingers – mint, lemon balm, sage, rosemary. I am still a young enough gardener where the different smells and textures still amaze me.

Keep moving forward. Keep getting better.

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Day 144 – 2,024 Words/Day Process Log – Everyday

I had a busy weekend. On Saturday, I went to a new-to-me theater and on Sunday I was in the garden starting seeds and transplanting cucumbers.

One thing I noticed is that I don’t have a routine for a theater day. I typically don’t write or work on anything publishing-wise on days I see a show, because going to the theater is a special event. I view the day as a vacation day. And vacation day rules are that my schedules and my guideposts are out.

It means trying out new restaurants and not paying attention to the fat content. It means having dessert whether I really want it or not. It means binge watching television. Basically, it means enjoying myself.

But I’m finding that maybe I like those guardrails. Maybe they’re fun. I didn’t get any writing done over the weekend and I miss it. I miss my characters. Writing isn’t a “must do”, it’s a “get to do.”

And as for what I eat, overeating is not fun. I feel sluggish and it turns out that the food really wasn’t worth it even if it is a meal with higher calories.

I think I’m going to have to work to make theater days just have a different schedule. And also, having a rich meal should be worth it, like really worth it, not just because it happens to be within walking distance to where I’m seeing a show.

Keep moving forward. Keep getting better.

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Day 143 – 2,024 Words/Day Process Log – Brainwash

When I was getting out of credit card debt, I surrounded myself with Dave Ramsey personal finance materials. I kept a copy of Dave Ramsey’s book The Total Money Makeover on my sofa so that every time I sat down, I picked it up and flipped through a couple of pages. I listened to his radio show on my commute home from work. I attended his class – Financial Peace University – twice. I even wore the jelly orange wristband to remind me of my goals.

Dave was basically all that I had when it came to learning about finances.

My family didn’t talk much about money except not to get into debt which is what I’d gone ahead and done. So, what I knew from investing and planning for the future financially came from Dave Ramsey and the local Atlanta personal finance guru Clark Howard.

I knew that as a single woman, I didn’t have room for error. No one was coming to save me, and I would get no sympathy if I failed. That mindset was instilled when I saw a financial planner in my early 20s and he kept asking me if I planned to get married and basically laughed me out his office when he looked at my financials.

Note: I was a 22-year-old single woman who had the foresight to see a financial planner offered by my employer. Dude could have at least told me to sign up for a ROTH IRA and invest in an index funds. But no. He had jokes. So, I found out about ROTH IRAs from a radio show during my commute home in Atlanta traffic.

There are a lot more options and voices now thanks to social media and the internet. But back then? I was grateful that I got started on the path of at least having a framework.

Now, as I look at the writing classes that I have permanent access to, it’s something that I plan to incorporate into my every day life. What can I do to expose myself to the books I want to write and a winning mindset? How can I brainwash myself?

Keep moving forward. Keep getting better.

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Day 142 – 2,024 Words/Day Process Log – Small Risks

I’m planning a theater weekend in Atlanta. I know that sounds strange to read considering that I live in Metro Atlanta. The thing is, though, is that Atlanta is huge. Back when I owned my house, getting to my sister’s took an hour and a half drive and we both live in Metro Atlanta. I joke that it takes an hour to get anywhere, but it’s kind of true. Add in that I don’t like to drive and am not comfortable driving at night and I have limited my theater choices.

So, I thought of spending a night in Atlanta, in a centrally located hotel and then see 3 shows – a Saturday matiness, Saturday night and then a Sunday matinee and driving home on Sunday.

Sounds like a great plan, right? But I still hesitated. I had the money. I set up a theater/fun/travel account that I regularly fund with each pay period years ago. I even have hotel points to offset the cost. As for the costs of the tickets, one theater ticket I’d already paid for last month and the other two were reasonably priced.  None of the venues were new. This was my town. It’s not like I had to navigate a new place.

But it was different. What helps was to actually sit down and count the costs. I’m someone who never feels bad about paying for a theater ticket because I believe in supporting the arts and supporitng the arts means money. I remember volunteer ushering because I couldn’t afford to pay for a ticket. Just a couple of years ago, I knew several different ways of getting discounted tickets in Washington, DC.

The cost wasn’t the issue. The issue was that this was differnet. The risk, was negligible. I was in my metro area. These theaters were ones I frequented. Heck, one was where I served as a former volunteer usher.

Still, it was different. It was new. What finally pushed me over was that I wanted to be able to give a decent itinerary to folks who wanted to come to Atlanta for theater. And I gave myself an out. This was just the first experience of having a 3-day show weekend. I’ll be able to take what I learned and refine it.

I’ve taken big risks and they’ve paid off because they had to. What I’m looking for now is how to take calculated risks – risks that I can afford to lose or a risk where something will go sideways.

Yes. It’s scary. It might not be scary to someone else, but it’s scary to me. New things are. But it’ll never be scarier than the first time. So, it’s best to get the first time over with.

Keep moving forward. Keep getting better.

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Day 138 – 2,024 Words/Day Process Log – Tea Garden

I want to make my own tea blends in five years, so I’m planting my tea garden today.

I already have mint safely secured growing in a container and sage in another one. I didn’t even know sage could be used in tea. My family only used that herb once a year during Thanksgiving for dressing. But as I was searching for uses, I came across sage tea that is supposed to be good for you. I brewed it with some mint, and it was right tasty.

Next came the lemon balm plant purchase.

Then I bought some seeds to start including lavender, holy basil, and chamomile. Also, learning to propagate ginger is part of the plan so I can preserve it.

Included in this plan is harvesting seeds and learning how to propagate the plants from cuttings so I can share the plants with ladies from my tea group and keep my own stash of tea for the winter. In the fall, I typically make a big order of a variety of ginger teas in preparation for any colds I might come down with. The goal is to replace that with my own blend.

This year is all about experimentation and learning what grows, learning how to dry herbs, and store them. Each year, I’ll get a bit better. I’ll refine my growing techniques and my recipes.

And one day, I’ll host a tea time, serving my own special blend tea with bouquets of flowers cut from my garden and vegetables harvested from the garden, too.

Keep moving forward. Keep getting better.

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Tracking

As of Day 138, – 5/17/24

# of Words I Wrote/# of Words Written To Be on Track/Year Goal

209,478/279,312/ 740,784

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Day 137 – 2,024 Words/Day Process Log- Build

You know how you learn things and then somehow forget them? In my case, it’s about saving seeds.

I recently learned how to harvest marigold seeds and plan on making use of that knowledge for next year. What’s important about it is that it’s keeping the seeds of the plants that survived or, better than that, thrived in my area.

I knew that. I mean, I even have seeds that I saved from my 2022 garden that recently germinated. But I looked at it as a cost saving measure and a way of being assured that I could always access the heirloom varieties that I liked.

The thought of selecting seeds for their properties was one I thought about years ago when I had a home and a backyard of my own. One TikTok reminded me of that old goal. The woman lived in a climate where it was hard to grow basil. So, she was going to let it go to seed.

Now, when you let basil go to seed, the flavor changes and the leaves are no longer as good for cooking. She, however, was looking toward the long term. She was willing to sacrifice one plant (and I have to add that it only takes one plant to go to seed because one plant produces soo many seeds) for the future.

I don’t know how many basil seeds she planted or how many experiments she had to run to get that one plant. She only needed one, though.

And next year, her germination rate will be higher and so will the basil plants able to withstand in her environment. And in five years, she’ll have a garden of vegetables and herbs able to thrive in her environment. That’s something that can’t be bought. It just costs time.

Keep moving forward. Keep getting better.

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Tracking

As of Day 137, – 5/16/24

# of Words I Wrote/# of Words Written To Be on Track/Year Goal

208,032/277,288/ 740,784

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Day 136 – 2,024 Words/Day Process Log – Doing What Works

I’m in gardening mode now, so that means that I watch a lot of gardening videos. I figure if I can learn one new thing and test it, it will be worth my time, and I’ve found some excellent creators doing great work in the urban environment with bucket gardening.

But there are also some folks who are just misinformed. But they have a microphone. And they speak confidently into the camera. They’re newbie gardeners obviously, but if you’re a newbie gardener you wouldn’t be able to tell.

An example is a lady who actually planted mint in her yard. Like, I don’t know one gardener who would plant mint in anything except a container. Don’t get me wrong, mint is awesome. It’s easy to grow, a perennial (which means it comes back every year) and makes wonderful teas – hot and cold. Mint is also invasive. If you plant mint in your yard, you will soon have a mint yard.

I was warned of this when I bought my mint plant at a charity garden sale. Since then, I’ve seen several warnings and horror stories. Yes, this creator on YouTube only said to “be careful” when planting it in a yard. A seasoned gardener would tell you to keep it in a container, not a raised bed, a container and has proper respect for the invasive properties of this herb.

Another creator talked about how buying a bell pepper plant wasn’t worth the money, that you’ll only get 2 or 3 peppers. Like, what?

My family loves bell peppers. We cook with them all the time and can’t get enough of them. I bought 2 bell pepper plants at the beginning of the season to give me time to grow from seed. I started doing this since there was a summer when only one pepper seedling grew to maturity. Last year, we were able to supply 3 households with beautiful bell peppers all summer from those 2 plants.

 The thing with gardening is that no garden is the same – there are different soil types, locations, and experiences of the gardener. Though I love watching my gardening videos, I know that I need to experiment. The only thing that matters is what works. And I can only find out what works by doing.

And that’s for more than gardening.

Keep moving forward. Keep getting better.

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As of Day 136, – 5/15/24

# of Words I Wrote/# of Words Written To Be on Track/Year Goal

207,588/275,264/ 740,784

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Day 122 – 2,024 Words/Day Process Log – Lessons from the Theatre – You Don’t Know What’s Going to Sell

No one knows anything. It’s a comment I’ve heard many times regarding writing.

The artist does not know which work will resonate with audiences. The story that you think will be a hit lands with a thud. Well, yesterday I received a reminder of this.

I was at the Shakespeare Tavern in downtown Atlanta taking in an adaptation of the Jane Austen novel Sense and Sensibility. I bought the ticket the day before on a lark because I recognized I needed to get out of the house more. It’s too easy for me to stay inside and honestly get in a rut. So, I bought tickets for a spate of plays I was planning on attending anyway and watched as my electronic calendar filled with blue, indicating events.

Since I got there early, I stopped in the gift shop. I’d attended plays at the tavern before, but my focus had been on first securing a seat because it’s general admission and then getting lunch because they serve simple, filling, and delicious meals.

I had time seeing as the house had just opened so instead of going forward to grab a seat, I turned right into the gift shop and looked around. I started a conversation with the cashier which, if I’m alone and a person is alone, I have no problem starting conversations and he mentioned how one of his best sellers was a zippered pouch with Shakespeare quotes which surprised him.

It didn’t surprise me, and I told him so. I love handbags and therefore, switch bags according to where I’m going and my outfit. Therefore, I keep the basics in pouches. I have a pouch for my keys and charger. I have a separate hygiene pouch that contains hand lotion, Kleenex, hand sanitizer, and lip balm. I have a writing pouch that contains notecards, highlighters, pens, and post-it notes to job down ideas. This is in addition to my wallet. I can grab the pouch I need for the day and know that it’s always stocked.

So. I understood why the pouches were popular and considered picking one up. He didn’t.

We’re all different with different experiences. It’s possible that I will write something that maybe I don’t like, and my friends don’t like, but there is someone out there who will like it. I don’t know.

The only thing to do is to put it out in the world and move on to the next thing.

Keep moving forward. Keep getting better.

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Tracking

As of Day 122, – 5/1/24

# of Words I Wrote/# of Words Written To Be on Track/Year Goal

201,840/ 246,928/ 740,784

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Day 114 Reporting – 2,024 Words/Day Process Log – Seeds

Today I dumped a bunch of basil seeds in my Earthbox. The Earthbox is a self-watering container garden that my dad and I use as an incubator to baby plants before going out into the harsh big garden. It’s the start of my 2024 gardening season and it got me thinking about seeds.

There are a couple of reasons why I planted basil. The herb supposedly increases the flavor of the tomato plants when they’re close together. They’re also a gorgeous plant that gets to be about knee high and I love the way they smell.

I don’t need 8 plants. Yet. I planted 8 seeds because I’m planning for things not to work out. These seeds are for the 2024 season so germination rate will be in the high 90s. I’m growing an heirloom variety, so I’ll be able to save the seeds. All seeds should germinate, but they won’t need to. At most, I’ll need 2 plants. If all 8 plants grow, I’ll just give them to my sister and brother-in-law.

What I’m getting at is that I give myself a ton of grace when it comes to gardening. I plant more seeds than what I need. If the seed doesn’t germinate in the time frame listed on the packet, I start some more seeds. I’ll even plant different varieties of the same plant to determine what does well in my garden.

Gardens have hard deadlines. It makes no sense to only plant one variety a season. It does make sense to dedicate one season to testing out different varieties of a vegetable though from the outside it may seem strange.

The frost is coming. No amount of finagling will make a difference. Get as many varieties in the ground as possible. When I see pests, I test different ways of getting rid of them and if some of the plants don’t survive my experiments, then that’s the reason for a gardening notebook so that I’ll learn and won’t make the same mistakes next year.

I’ve been thinking of ways of how to think about my stories. I think that thinking of them as seeds and varieties is the way to go. If a story doesn’t work, no worries. Try another genre or another take of the idea. Some stories won’t work. It’s not a surprise when it happens. It’s a consequence of writing. Everything won’t work. Take the lesson and do better the next season.

Keep moving forward. Keep getting better.

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As of Day 114, – 4/23/24

# of Words I Wrote/# of Words Written To Be on Track/Year Goal

188,907/ 230,736 / 740,784

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Day 112 Reporting – 2,024 Words/Day Process Log – People-ing

Copyright robynmac – Depositphotos

I don’t want to focus on self-publishing right now, but I can’t ignore it. I have to think of it as dessert or like a snack, but not the main vegetables, lean protein, starch carbs and fruit of my diet. Kind of like my weekly London Fog tea latte I make myself on Friday mornings to celebrate the end of the work week.

It still needs to happen. This isn’t a matter of not liking self-publishing, either. It’s fun tooling around with covers and writing marketing copy. The problem is that I haven’t made space for it. It’s not on the schedule and something that is not on the schedule does not get done.

It’s easy to say that when I’m at a different point in my journey, I’ll start then, but I’ve found that that isn’t true. I made that mistake with my health journey. I said the first year I would concentrate on getting my eating habits down, since I already liked to walk and honestly, cardio was never a problem. As a kid I swam and was a shot putter in the summer parks and rec program even though I was bad.

Side Note: Let’s give it up for the folks who keep youth sports programs going for folks who won’t even make the JV team in high school.

The problem with that thinking though is that now I’m in Year 2 and I still don’t want to people. That use of people as a verb is intentional. Fun is escaping into my own little world writing with my noise canceling headphones over my ears to keep out the birds twittering and  my 24 oz ALDI drinking up filled with ice water. Fun is exploring new-to-me parks. Fun is reading. Fun is going to the theater.

You know what isn’t fun? Surrounding myself with people at an activity when it’s obvious I’m the weakest link. I checked out the 10k training program last year by taking the virtual option. I observed who was a part of the group and participated in group calls. I wanted to get a feel for how they were.

No one wants to say that they don’t want to support someone who is improving their health. It sounds bad. But, if I’m walking an 18 minute mile and the rest of the group says on its website – all paces are welcome – but it actuality say that a 10-minute-mile pace is slow, then is a mismatch, it’s the wrong group for me.

And because people tend to lie to themselves to uphold a certain image, the only way to know what’s the truth is to actually be a part of the group.

I thought I’d solved this problem with my recon. But this year when I hesitated signing up, all my old insecurities came back even though I knew these folks specifically had a group for 18 – 20 minute/mile walkers. And I saw the pictures of folks participating in the in-person training sessions last year and they looked like me.

Look. Eventually, I clicked that Join button. What would have made it easier is if I had tested out walking groups last year instead of putting it off.

That’s the deal with self-publishing. I gotta find a way to establish a foundation, to put it on the schedule so that I can crank up the activity if necessary. Putting things off is not the way. Do it. Gather data. Adjust and repeat.

Keep moving forward. Keep getting better.

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As of Day 112, – 4/21/24

# of Words I Wrote/# of Words Written To Be on Track/Year Goal

186,834/ 226,688 / 740,784

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