Thursday, July 23, 2015

Makeshift Surfaces has moved!

Well, it's been merged. It's not part of what was my writing blog over at /! All the current posts are now there!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Journal prompts

More journal prompts for you!

1. What is your perfect ideal day like? Would in include work, or be a break from it? Why?

2. What are your very earliest memories? Write them out.

3. Is there something you're avoiding right now? Why are you avoiding it? What can you do to make it less scary or annoying?

4. What would you do if you suddenly had one billion dollars in your bank account? What would you get--but also, what would you do to help people?

5. What are your current celebrity crushes? What is it about them that makes you like them so much?

6. How far has your farthest trip ever been? Why did you go and how long were you there? What happened while you were there?

7. List all the electronics you have owned on a timeline, from first to current. Is there any sort of pattern you can see in your gadget-life?

Friday, June 26, 2015

Garden update - Late June 2015

So moving sort of messed up my plan to have a huge food garden this year! I moved everything that was still alive to my sister's back porch, emptied and reclaimed the dirt from everything that wasn't still alive, and set up along the fence.

And then this whole last two weeks of violently high temperatures happened. Like, over 100 for days at a time! Of course with the change of lighting situations and the sudden new heat, a lot of the plants are stressed or dead now--almost all the tomatoes, the one squash that survived the bugs, all the peas, my baby natal plums and all my citruses, etc.

So I took all these pictures and put this horrible yellow filter on them so you can have some idea of how hot and blinding everything is...

But it's not all bad news!

The Pawpaws sprouted! A few look a little chewed on or burned, but it looks like all ten of the seeds sprouted! I'm so excited! They're supposed to be finnicky little things, and they apparently don't like repotting, but with so many sprouts, maybe one or two will live til tree-hood, and I can add them to my mobile orchard!

My baby Danish Strand Rose is doing amazingly well. I should probably cut that top off it now, but I think I'll leave it to preserve the little microclimate it still has in there, and to keep the bugs off. I planted like ten, and I think only one sprouted, but it looks like a feisty one!

Osage oranges! A2 says that I don't need them to keep spiders away because "there's no spiders in this town, only in cartoons", but I'm still happy they're doing so well! Yay native plants doing well in my sad little garden!

My one little tomato that survived. I planted multiple seeds of like ten different sorts of tomatoes, and the sharpie all weathered off long before I had to rearrange and move the whole thing, so who knows which one it is. I'm hoping it's one of my fancy-colored ones, since those seeds were sort of expensive and rare, but I'd be happy if it turns out to be like a Cherokee Purple or a Brandywine from that heirloom mix. 

I repotted it today to give it more space, and it's a little pale but seems to be good and strong, so I'll just baby it and see if it'll flower. There's lots and lots of bees and plant-busy wasps around here (I'm trying to get them used to me so that I can "tame" them), so I don't think pollination will be an issue.

My jade plant--the one given to me by Emmy's mom like 15 years ago--is loving the heat, which is great, because that thing is fragile and snaps off whole branches when it's unhappy. And look at how big and fuzzy that asparagus is! I planted it, like, barely after the snow and in (as you can see) less than an ideal location, but as soon as it got hot, it started sending up shoots and is the only thing that really seems to have loved all this sun and heat! It's way too young and cramped to be food yet, but I'll just tote it around until I can harvest off it. And replant the crowns separately this fall after they go to sleep.

One little pepper! I think I only planted Datils, Aji Dulce and Lemon Peppers in the seed starter, so it should be one of those. I can't remember which was in that spot and my gardening journal wound up packed somewhere. I'm sad that more didn't come up! Datils come from my old home town of St Augustine, exclusively, and the weather is basically the same here so I had hoped they'd thrive and I could get some. Aji Dulce are native to Cuba, like my gramma. And Lemon Peppers were a gift in a seed swap.

Here's what was the core of my old garden; sad looking now! Not pictured here, though, is my badly-scorched crabapple, and I think my hawthorn and crepe myrtles died. Really, it was a bad spring for my orchard; I'm gonna have to replant all of that.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Getting up again

I feel like I'm always falling over. You know when baby birds are learning to fly and they sort of almost do it and then spend like ten minutes on the dangerous ground getting themselves back in order? That's me.

Life went sideways from under me again, and I took maybe a month (maybe two) getting my bearings again, and now I'm looking at the sky and wondering if I can get back up there. And, as usual, I do it in stages.

I never quite shut down my nail polish shop, but I stopped worrying about promo and I stopped adding new stuff--so I'm back to making the next round of new colors.

I got really scattered and ridiculous in my writing habits, so now I'm easing back into writing this week (I already finished one thing), before I dive face-first into the madness that is Camp NaNoWriMo next month. I've never finished the July version before, but at the very least it should kick me in the butt and get me moving on a new project, and, if I'm lucky, get my brain back in that word-groove where I can write and edit at once!

And to clear out my brain and get back to being creative, I'm going to try to make a journal-page-a-day thing based on Journaling Junkie's daily challenges, as soon as she puts up the next list! I'll post pics on that on my IG, probably, and I'll probably to periodic updates here, too, because this poor blog has been ignored too long!

How do you get back up when life knocks you over?

Time for another affiliate promo post!

Every once in a while, I like to make a post about all the awesome things people I admire (who have affiliate programs I can sign up for) are doing! It's been a while, I realized, what with how crazy my life has been lately*, so I thought I'd make another one now!

I'm sort of picky about the stuff I'll sign up to affiliate with. I have to love it, first. I have to feel drawn to it and to want to talk to people about it anyway. And it has to be something useful and uplifting and inspiring. There's too much of the opposite around to waste time on it!

So here's who I love.

Danielle LaPorte
I don't really have heroes or gurus, but this woman has a talent for saying to the world exactly what I specifically need to hear whenever I go looking for guidance or advice. I just love her and everything she makes! She's also wildly prolific, splashing love and awesome stuff all over the place, and one day I wanna be her when I grow up!

Here's her latest stuff:

I love this book so hard. I got the digital version right before the new year started, and I took almost a whole month to work through it, and it's been amazing to get my thoughts in order! I might go back and start again, since we're not half way through a the year and my life has taken sever sharp and strange turns since the year started!

I love a planner that also happens to remind me of what the heck I'm even doing with my life, and this one is ideal for that. I think it's on sale now that the year is half over, but it's also undated so it doesn't matter when in the year you start! Win-win!

I'm a fan of actual tattoos (as you probably know if you've met me or seen my IG), but I'm also a fan of just about any sort of body-decorating thing you can think of, and shimmery golden temporary tats? No one has given me permanent gold tattoos yet, so this is the next best thing AND it's a great way to remind yourself of what your Core Desired Feelings are! There's lots of different sets there, too, as well as these geometric ones.

This is one of the best ideas ever! Her Truth Bombs are already pretty awesome, and the idea of putting them on a sort of oracle was brilliant!

The Mala Bundle
Look how pretty this baby is!

Leonie Dawson
This is another wonderful woman! She's like a ray of sunshine with paint-covered fingers, and she's a whiz about making people's lives better! She gives a lot of her stuff away for free, but the stuff she does sell is well worth the cost--which is lower than a lot of similar things, and more colorful and joyful than the majority of it! There's really nothing like Leonie's stuff out there.

Also, she's cheerful, adorable, full of love, and she curses a lot, which I love.

This is a great site for getting a wide selection of open-pollinated seeds--which means you can grow varieties not found in stores AND you can save the seeds and they'll grow the same plant next year! The best thing is that almost every seed in their shop comes in a Sample Size that's just 99c and is more than enough for a little porch garden like mine!

Gabby Bernstein
Another wonderful woman with a lot of wisdom to share! She lately made a deck of GORGEOUS oracle cards and a book to go with them, and I'm still trying to figure out how I can get them for myself!

And some bonus stuff:

Passion Planner:
This isn't an affiliate link, but it's something I love: The planner pages themselves are a little busy for me and have that hourly thing that I don't like, but the rest of the book is amazing. There's the goal-mapping stuff that I now do at the beginning of the year and the beginning of each quarter (I'm about to redo this, too!) that is amazing for narrowing stuff down so you can see how you can do it. There's weekly and monthly check in questions that are fab for seeing the bigger picture, which is invaluable when you're down in the messy middle of life!

And best of all, they offer the whole planner as a free download in case you're poor and can't afford to buy the beautiful printed version. If you then decide to offer money for it, they donate that money to charity!

One of my favorite blogs for inspiration and guidance and creativity!

Another gloriously soul-filled and inspiring blog!

I love Theresa's way with finding wisdom in everything, and I subscribe to her monthly planner pages--even though I use them sort of willy-nilly and keep them in a stack in a folder until they apply to what I'm feeling rather than each month as they come. Go see her wonderfulness.

What stuff do you absolutely love? What blogs and writers and soul-lovers and sources of guidance do you follow?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Five ways to handle going gluten free

So it's been a while since I went gluten free, and I've gotten used to it enough that most of the time I don't cheat anymore (except that PB&J I had this afternoon because I was STARVING and everything else took effort). Here's five tricks I've learned for surviving without sweet sweet glutens.

1. Everything makes a decent taco
Anything that can be eaten on a sandwich can be put into a corn tortilla, and some things--BLTs or Cheese Steak, for instance--are actually really good in taco form, or as a roll-up. Use corn tortillas. The best are made at home, and it's actually kind of fun to do it at home, but if you're going to do it a lot, a tortilla press makes it  so much easier. If you get the ones from the store, they're basically undercooked, so make sure you sear them off a little in a dry pan until they get some delicious scorchy black bits on them, So much better.

2. Avoid fast food restaurants like the plague
Seriously. Unless it's going to be Chinese food or Mexican or something like that variety of fast food, it's gonna all be ad for you. I eat mostly salads or baked potatoes when I can't avoid going to Wendy's or something, but it's unfair for everyone else to be having chicken nuggets and burgers when I can't, and it makes me sad even when the salad is delicious. Bojangles or Popeye's are the worst--so many biscuits I can't have! Better to avoid them entirely.

3. Stuff on rice
The same way anything can go on a taco, anything can go on a bowl of rice. I eat a lot of rice, so I've started getting fancy--I have short grain, long grain, brown, white, red, basmati, jasmine. And I've got rice-like things like quinoa and other grains around. And even when I'm just making regular white rice, I have bullion cubes, herbs, jars of chopped garlic, Sazon and Jamon and Adobo, so the rice can always taste like something that matches whatever I'm eating on it.

Burgers and cheese steak and basically any sandwich stuff goes really well on rice, especially if there's already a sauce involved, or the food is good and fatty or juicy to spread the flavor around.

4. Eat things that never had gluten
The best GF foods are the ones that never had gluten to begin with, so there's nothing missing from them. Asian foods are generally good--Indian, Thai, Japanese, Chinese that doesn't have noodles unless they're rice noodles. Hispanic-diaspora foods are good, too, because of the rice-basis of the meals. Plus, Mexican is usually pretty cheap and easy to make!

I miss pizza like it was a physical part of me, and the GF pizzas are all expensive and very limited, but I love this reason to eat more Indian and Japanese and Korean and Mexican!

5. Change your perceptions
Basically, you're cutting out a big part of the previous style of eating, and the idea of replacing things that taste the same, act the same, and don't have gluten is pointless, from my experience. GF foods are wildly more expensive, or they're vague tasteless approximations that ruin the experience, or they're similar in function but don't taste the same at all. There's some stuff that is good, and by all means, use that stuff so you don't feel deprived! But it's much more satisfying to shift instead to looking forward to the stuff you can have--all those meals that are naturally GF, all the icecream instead of cake, all the actually good foods that are not problematic and don't require so much effort to try to make it the same as your old diet.

And if you're definitely going to eat all those expensive approximations, shift your thinking so that you accept that they're going to be different, because there's no way they can be the same. You're looking for close-enough, rather than exactly the same.

How do you handle being disallowed a large portion of American food?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

I need this on my blog - Fwd: #Truthbomb 818

I'm in the almost last three days of moving. I hate this part of moving, and every time I had to go through it, I just want more to be rich enough to hire people to do all this crap for me next time. It kills my calm, my creativity, my motivation, my kindness. It makes my back hurt, my head hurt, my arms hurt. It makes me want to run away into the woods forever (but my Inner Deer is pretty strong most of the time anyway, so...). 

I'm going to try to replace this cycle of hate with these simple words Danielle Laporte repeats fairly often:

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Danielle Laporte Inc. #234 - 2055 Commercial Drive Vancouver, British Columbia V5N 0C7 Canada

Monday, May 25, 2015

Weekly journal questions!

1. What is the very first thing you remember, your absolute earliest memory? What do you know must be the context of that memory, and how much of that context do you actually remember vs what you've been told?

2. What does summer mean to you? Does it mean the same thing it meant to you as a child? Do you look forward to summer, or dread it? Why? What is your strongest summer memory?

3. What is something people around you love, but that you just find oppressively dull? What makes it dull--and why do others like it so much? Have you tried to like it, too? How successful were you?

4. What is one place you have always wanted to visit and never have? What is it that makes you want to go there? Why have you never been? What would you do if you were there?

5. Find a book and open it to a random page. What line is right in the middle of your right hand page? What does that line make you think of? Is there a message from the universe in it?

6. Do you believe in signs and portents? What is something you're looking for a sign to help you with? What do you hope the universe says and what do you fear the answer might be? 

7. Who is your celebrity crush? What makes you love them so much? Where did you discover them? Have you ever met them in real life--or would you, if you haven't? How do they make you feel?

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Lists - stuff that's pissing me off today

I'm having a Bad Life Day, so to get it out of my brain, here's a list of all the things that are pissing me off today:

  • Packing up to move AGAIN against my will, only six months after we moved the last time.*
  • The AC is broken, and this is the most recent in a LONG LIST of things wrong with this place that makes the price even more unjustified.
  • Stress has made my pain-thing flare up, so I hurt all the time now.
  • Stress has also made my period late again**, when I'd only just gotten it to show up on time.
  • Those commercials asking for money for things that should be taken care of--the VA? Should be taken care of my the gov that sends people out to need it. Water for communities? Should be taken care of by people with money. Don't ask me, when I'm so poor. It's insulting to ask the poor to pay for the poor.
  • My birthday is next week and this situation sucks.
  • I had to reset my phone to factory presets to make it work, which is stupid.
  • I JUST got stuff to start coming up in my garden, and now I'm gonna have to move the whole thing.***
  • Finding boxes is the worst.
  • No, filling boxes is the worst.
  • I was only JUST starting to feel like I was making headway getting my stuff OUT of storage, and now it's all got to go back IN.
  • I'm going to have to delay opening Cashew Creations by at least a month.****
  • Ninja hates moving more than I do, and she's going to FLIP OUT, and I'm just really worried about how she'll handle living in a hotel where all the furniture is not ours.
Silver linings--because you've got to find them, right?
  • All of this is hardening my resolve to get my own place, and maybe to find a way out of this state.
  • It's also convincing me that a Tiny House is a better and better idea, because moving without packing sounds divine.
  • Living in a hotel means that we don't have to pay for power bills or water bills or cable bills. So that's less to worry about.
  • Maybe the hotel will have breakfast--and a pool, so I can get some exercise that won't kill me now that I can't seem to move without getting all weak and faint because pain is taking up all my energy.
But guys. I'm so unhappy today.

* We're losing our house because it just costs too much. We're moving into a hotel, which I'm going to treat like a dorm, because I know how to do that.
** My uterus is apparently very shy. It doesn't like anything that damages my calm. Sorry about the overshare.
*** The only good part is that I CAN move it, because it's all potted. And my sister's volunteered her porch to house it.
**** In which I will hopefully be able to better fill the shop and better organize my offerings and the behind-the-scenes stuff.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Birthday customer-and-reader appreciation weeks!

It's almost my birthday and I want to thank everyone who has helped me start to live the life I want to live instead of the one I've been relegated to, and so I'm offering a steep discount on all my nail polish and Pay What You Will pricing on my books! All I ask is that you help me spread the word--tweet, instagram, comment, share, review, tell your friends, whatever! The books each have a dedicated hashtag to use, and you can tag me as @pirategirljack on IG or Twitter so I can join the convo and retweet you!

Thank you all so much!


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