First Rejection

I got my first rejection email for a press badge for New York Comic Con.  An excerpt from the email reads:

“Due to the growth of the Show and demand for tickets, NYCC relies on a more intensive application process for qualifying members of the Press. We are sorry to report your application cannot be approved after this more sensitive screening.”

Even though I knew my application was a long shot, I was surprised at how disappointed I was when I read the email.

A few weeks ago, when I was feeling really good about the posts I was writing, I began dreaming big.  Imagine if, as a blogger, I could get press passes to events.  This could eventually lead to a two-minute interview with Prince at his next concert tour.  Dream big or go home, right?

Can bloggers, who want to write about special events, get press passes?  The application seemed easy enough (three links to my writing samples).  Shame on me for thinking 25 posts about my garden and failed-workouts would get me into the largest comic convention in the world.

My initial reaction was to close up this blog and never write again.  A month later, I’m thinking this could be the turning point (like the training scene in movies), where I start banging out weekly posts to get some real writing credibility.

Perhaps I should take a refresher course in writing or join a writers’ group?  Maybe I should actually go to an event and actually write about it?  Did I really think writing would be so easy?

I can feel this blog slowly coming to a halt.  My 30-Day Ab Challenge was almost done, but I didn’t finish.  The 100HappyDays Instagram project is way past its finish date, but I’m still on Day 93.  But, at least my garden is producing delicious produce.  Today, my first sunflower is in full bloom.

First sunflower of the summer.
First sunflower of the summer.

Not really sure where to go from here.  Summer makes it so easy to put everything off until the Fall.  But I knew I had to get this post out, just to get back on track.

After a setback, how do you get back on track?  Share with us your success stories 🙂

 

 

 

Ab Challenge Almost Done

I am 3+ days behind in the 30-Day Ab Challenge (Day 14, Day 22 and Day 25, plus 130 crunches from Day 21).  There’s only 4 days left, so I’ve given myself an extension until July 3rd.

I had to make adjustments so that I wouldn’t quit.  I did the situps, crunches, and leg lifts in sets.  For example, on Day 21, instead of 90 situps straight, I did 3 sets of 30.  I did not break up the planks.  I am up to 100 seconds.

Visually, I don’t see any improvement…no six pack abs…yet.  But, I stepped up to the challenge most days, and found out that I can plank.

For July, I was invited to do the 30-Day Arm Challenge, but I gracefully declined.  Pushups and arm dips are too ambitious for the summer.

I briefly clicked on the 30-Day Little Black Dress Challenge.  But, at 46, I’m now more realistic. 1)Burpees — Not even closely related to slurpees.   2)No room for a little black dress in this season’s Project 333 capsule.  3)Again, it’s summer.  I have abs-olutely zero motivation.

I’m going for Jillian Michael’s 30-Day Shred.  Maybe Jillian can motivate me.  A few years ago, when my son was trying to make weight for pee wee football, we bought this DVD and it helped him lose about 8 pounds.  To be fair, we also cut out all sweetened drinks and french fries.  Not sure I can do that…but we’ll see.

So what’s your workout for the summer?  Or how do you deal with the sound of the ice cream truck?

Takin’ Out the Suckers

In order to produce the best tomatoes, I have to take out all the suckers.

Not suckers, like the ones from this D-Nice song…But tomato suckers, shoots that grow between the main stem and a branch.

If left to grow, suckers might steal energy from the main fruit, and you’d get a bunch of mediocre tomatoes instead of some really good ones.  For a more reasonable explanation, go here.

There’s discussion on whether you have to take out the suckers. The square-foot gardening method takes out the suckers to keep the tomato plants from spreading too wide and taking over the rest of the garden.  Who knew three tomato plants would require so much work?

Little sucker growing between main stem and branch.
Little sucker growing between main stem and branch.

I watched several videos while looking for ways to stay sucker free.

My Square Foot Garden had the best video of how to remove the suckers.

Front Porch Farm gives a detailed description of how to string and sucker tomato plants.  I haven’t had any success with training them on the trellis, so I’ve just been tying the branches.

I hope I’m not just hacking away at these plants.  I see lots of flowers, so there’s definitely potential.  There are lots of bugs too…but I’ll talk about that next time.

Here’s some updated pictures of my garden:

Back Row: Pole Bean (Kentucky Wonder), Tomato (Parks Whopper), Tomato (Sugary Hybrid), Tomato (Sweet Seedless) Front Row:  Marigolds and Lettuce (All Star Mix)
Back Row: Pole Bean (Kentucky Wonder), Tomato (Parks Whopper), Tomato (Sugary Hybrid), and Tomato (Sweet Seedless).
Front Row: Marigolds and Lettuce (All Star Mix).

 

Back Row:  Green Pepper, Red Pepper, Eggplant, Eggplant, Rosemary.  Way Back Row: Wild Strawberries and Basil Front Row: (Dying) basil, Italian Parsley, Thyme, Spicy Oregano, Sage, Marjoram, Marigolds
Back Row: Green Pepper, Red Pepper, Eggplant, Eggplant, and Rosemary.  Way Back Row: Wild Strawberries and Basil (dying).
Front Row: Basil (dying), Italian Parsley, Thyme, Spicy Oregano, Sage, Marjoram, and Marigolds.

 

Tomato Sugary Hybrid - can you see the little green bugs?
Tomato Sugary Hybrid – can you see the little green bugs?

 

Lettuce - All Star Mix - has been great in our salads.
Lettuce – All Star Mix – has been great in our salads.

 

I’d love some feedback from the gardeners out there.  So tell us, how do you take out the suckers?  Or do you just leave those suckers alone?

Chasing Dreams

Del, the kids, and I play “Apartment Dwellers” in a short film called, “Aemorraghe,” which is showing at Eternal Con‘s Film Festival at 3:40pm, this Saturday, June 14th.  How cool is that?

Patrick Devaney, the writer and director, is a friend from elementary school.  When he was 14, he read a mini-graphic novel by Caza that was published in Heavy Metal magazine.  Patrick spent the next 30 years writing, getting necessary permissions, and finally making “Aemorraghe,” the film of his dreams.

We were on the set for one day and it was an awesome experience to see all the different pieces of the movie –the set, the actors, the crew, the makeup process, the costumes, and the filming of the scenes.  The cast and crew were so friendly.  They even fed us lunch.

We watched the film for the first time at the Macabre Faire Film Festival in January.  It was amazing to see the whole story come together.  It was inspiring to see a friend succeed and achieve his dream.

Even though the post may seem like a shameless movie promotion, I do have a point to all this…

Jackson and Elena (my kids) are around the same age as Patrick was when he began dreaming of making this story into a movie.

By working really hard at something he loved, Patrick found a way to make it happen.  I’m sure there were bumps along the road and that he had other day jobs to support him while he was chasing this dream.  But it’s a great example to the kids (and me) that dreams can come true.

Aemorraghe is making its way to film festivals around the US and parts of Canada.  I hope you’ll be able to catch it.  Here’s Trailer 1 and Trailer 2.

This is the year to create, adjust, work hard and chase our dreams 🙂

 

 

 

 

Terramoto

My little girl — who (at 5’7″) is not so little anymore — has been so helpful to me these past two months that I wanted to give her a shoutout.

Elena had a rough start.  Her uncle nicknamed her “Terramoto” because whenever she left his house, it looked like an earthquake had struck.  Once, at a party, I found a woman prying a checkbook from Elena’s fingers, saying “you must NEVER go into a woman’s purse.”  In preschool, one mother referred to Elena as a “hot mess.”

Elena as Lava Girl in preschool.
Elena as Lava Girl in preschool.

There’s always a fine line of how wild to let her be.  But, thankfully, she really has turned things around.

She’s a good student, who plays soccer, basketball, and the upright bass.

Elena with her "High Honor Roll with Distinction" awards.
Elena with her “High Honor Roll with Distinction” awards.

Most importantly, Elena is my biggest blog supporter.

She is my copy editor.  She spots typos and gives me input on the rough patches–and by rough patches, I mean stuff she doesn’t want the world to know 🙂

She is my workout partner.  She always reminds me that we have to do our “30-Day Ab Challenge” sets.  She probably gets a kick out of watching her 45-year-old mom strain to do situps.   Day 1 provided an evening full of laughs.

She is my backup happy item for my #100happydays project on Instagram.  So far she’s in about 25% of the pictures.

She is my gardening assistant.  This past weekend, she worked all morning putting down mulch.  For now, she doesn’t seem to mind all the micromanaging I do.  But sometimes her smile is so wide, I wonder if she’s really cursing me out in her head.

Elena worked all morning and put down about 8 bags of mulch.
Elena worked all morning and put down about 8 bags of mulch.

Is it the calm before the storm?  I hear that teen girls can be rough.   Elena is 12 years old.

I’m going to enjoy all of this while it lasts. This one’s for you, Happy Peaches.

Elena and me ready for her grandfather's high school reunion ball. (May 2014)
Elena and me ready for her grandfather’s high school reunion ball. (May 2014)

 

 

30-Day Ab Challenge

I started this blog to challenge myself to say “yes” to things that I would normally say, “absolutely not.”

I’m on Day 40 of my 100HappyDays project.  It’s sometimes hard to come up with one thing that made me happy, but so far I haven’t missed a day .

I’m getting tired of the clothes I’ve chosen for my Project 333, and the next season doesn’t begin until July 1st…so I’ve still got a whole month to go — ugh!  But I’m sticking with it.

Recently, my friend, Glenda, shared a “30-Day Ab Challenge” on her facebook page.  I think I can do “15 situps, 5 crunches, 5 leg raises and a 10 second plank” on Day 1.  By Day 30, I’ll be doing 125 situps, 200 crunches, 65 leg raises, and 120 second plank?  What do I have to lose, besides hope inches on my waistline?  I’m in.

For those of you not on Facebook, here’s the 30-Day Ab Challenge website.  June 1st is the start date.

Will keep you posted on any progress or injuries 🙂

 

Just show me the baby

I finished my raised garden beds this week!

I wanted to write an informative post to go along with this project — it would’ve included links to my Pinterest searches and square foot gardening, pictures of my sketches, list of materials, and possibly some jokes about my trip to buy a wheel barrow and pick ax.

But, I got so much done this week, that I just want to share it with you.  One of my husband’s favorite lines is, “Just show me the baby.”  Simple enough.  I will spare you all the labor pains…here are the pictures:

Before picture of my side yard where we removed dead bushes:

Before picture:  The bushes in the side yard died two seasons ago.
Before picture: The bushes in the side yard died two seasons ago.

Here are a couple of pictures during the project:

Outside measures about 160 inches by 40 inches.  Inside of garden bed measures about 144 inches by 24 inches.
Outside measures about 160 inches by 40 inches. Inside of garden bed measures about 144 inches by 24 inches.

 

Newspaper lines the bottom of the garden bed to keep weeds from coming through the bottom.
Newspaper lines the garden bed to keep weeds from coming through the bottom.
I filled the garden bed with about 12 cubic feet of garden soil.
I filled the garden bed with about 12 cubic feet of garden soil.

 

Here is my first vegetable garden:

First row:  tomatoes, green pepper, red pepper, eggplant, and rosemary Second row:  marigolds, lettuce, basil, parsley, thyme, spicy oregano, sage, marjoram, more marigolds
Back row: tomatoes, green pepper, red pepper, eggplant, and rosemary
Front row: marigolds, lettuce, basil, parsley, thyme, spicy oregano, sage, marjoram, more marigolds

 

I worry that the sprinklers won’t reach the vegetables.  I still have to figure out how to make a trellis.  But I have faith that most of these vegetables will grow.

At the beginning of this post I said garden beds.  Yes, there’s more…

Before picture of shade garden:

 

BEFORE:  The roots from the tree on the right made this area bumpy and not really usable.
BEFORE: The roots from the tree on the right made this area bumpy and not really usable.

 

After picture of shade garden:

AFTER:  Transplanted various hostas from parts of existing garden.  Impatiens from plant sale at Elena's old elementary school.  Also some petunias and dianthus.
AFTER: Transplanted various hostas from parts of existing garden. Impatiens from plant sale at Elena’s old elementary school. Also some petunias and dianthus.

 

Here’s one last picture of my tulips and daffodils. They finished blooming last week.

 

My first season of tulips and daffodils in bloom :)
My first season of tulips and daffodils in bloom 🙂

 

Special shoutout to my son for moving cinder blocks, dirt, and mulch in exchange for an excused absent note to study for his AP Euro exam.  Also, thanks to Lu for coming with me to get the wheel barrow and plants.  It would’ve been hard to take a selfie holding the pick ax.

 

Needed a wheel barrow and pick axe for this project.  Thanks, Lu!
Needed a wheel barrow and pick ax for this project. Thanks, Lu!

 

Thanks for stopping by.  Do you know how to build a simple trellis? Got any gardening tips?  Share it with us.

Blog Status

Captain Compost has nothing to report.

As much as I love this name given to me by one of my favorite readers, I feel I haven’t earned it.  My compost bin just sits there.  I think it’s working–it doesn’t stink and isn’t slimy–but there’s just nothing to report.

When I first started this blog, I had plans to post twice a week.  I bought a new binder and filled it with schedules and possible post ideas.  Seven weeks later, I’m questioning if I can really keep these posts interesting.

My projects will take time.  As much as I would love to embrace this whole minimalist movement, I really am having a hard time throwing out my junk and buying less stuff.

I’d love to start my new “raised garden” project but there’s heavy lifting involved and not many strong backs around here…so now I have to add delivery costs to my budget and the project starts getting tricky-er.

I don’t want to keep writing about the things I’m NOT doing.   Eventually even my devoted mom will stop reading.  At the same time, I don’t want give up just because things are getting uncomfortable.

So, I’ll keep working on these projects until I can share with you my progress.

In the meantime, I’m also going to try to learn more about blogging. There’s just so much information out there.   I’ve downloaded a course by Courtney Carver called “Zero to 100: a Microcourse for Beginning Bloggers,” and Becca Ludlum’s book “Everything But the Posts.”

I’m determined to get better at this.  How do you handle slow moving projects?  How do you stay motivated?

 

 

 

 

100happydays

I follow Brianna, my niece, on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.   I try not to hit “like” or comment on every post.  I don’t want to be unfriended, blocked, or unfollowed.  I just want to keep up with the latest trends in social media.

A few weeks ago, Brianna started tagging pictures with #100happydays.  So I googled it and it’s a photo challenge to take a daily picture of something that makes you happy.

This project is right up my alley–no heavy lifting, no throwing away sentimental items–I just have to take a happy photo once a day!  It’s not a bragging contest.  There are no prizes to win.

I’m on Day 10.  So far I’ve found out that Elena (pictured on Days 2, 4, 6) and Bojangles (Days 5 and 7) make me the happiest — or at least they are the most willing to pose for the pictures.

On Day 8, I had to decide which made me happier–dumping rotting vegetables in my new compost bin OR eating the last of the Easter candy.  The Easter candy won.

See the rest of my pictures on Instagram.

Do you have time to be happy for 100 days?  Who is up for  #100Happydays?

 

 

Death Anniversaries

Today is my dad’s ninth death anniversary.

When I was growing up, I remember my dad would say, “Today is the death anniversary of your Lolo (grandfather)…your Lola (grandmother)…your Tito (uncle)…” There seemed to be a death anniversary every other week.  Sometimes my dad would tell a funny story about the person.  Sometimes no story followed, just silence.

Was he thinking of where he was the exact moment he heard of the death?  Or perhaps the last conversation he had with that person?

On April 23, 2005, while vacationing in the Philippines, my dad had a heart attack, followed later by a stroke, and then he was gone.  I remember the phone call, the long flight back to the Philippines, the funeral, and the days that followed.   The details are still so vividly clear, perhaps because everything was so final.

I’d like to remember how his last hug felt — when he dropped us off at the Vegas airport, gave the kids a dollar each for ice cream, and told us to stay out of trouble.  I’d like to remember how his voice and laugh sounded the last time we spoke on the phone.  But those memories are harder to recall because I was in a rush to catch the flight and in a hurry to get off the phone.  I wish I had known.

Will this day always be an awful reminder of his death?  I don’t know. After nine years, he is still so sorely missed on his birthday, every holiday, family event, and milestone.

Today I will call my mom, text my brothers, and meet my sister for lunch.   I am blessed and so thankful that they are all still here with me.  My dad would be mad if he saw us all still moping around.

Here’s one of my favorite pictures we took together:

My dad and me at my wedding (1994).
My dad and me dancing at my wedding (1994).

According to Wikipedia, there are several cultures that observe death anniversaries.   I’d love to know how (or if) you acknowledge death anniversaries.