Saturday, May 29, 2010


Last year was the first year I tried growing heirloom tomatoes. I didn't choose the best spot in the yard for them, and I think the squirrels harvested more than we did, but other than that they turned out better than I could have hoped.

The beauty of heirloom varieties is that you can save the seeds and replant them. This goes right along with my beliefs and how I want to do things, so I saved seeds. It's not easy to save tomato seeds. The gelatinous stuff that the seeds are in are an anti-sprouting material. So you have to let the gelatinous stuff rot, but not the seeds and then you can save the seeds for the next year.

I had high aspirations. I saved the seeds and was eager to plant them this spring. Shooting for the stars, I got out my seeds, put them in some compost, watered them and put them under a light in the basement.

Despite my high aspirations, I didn't go about this project quite right. I think that I kept the light too far above the plants. As the tomatoes grew, they grew long and spindly, with little strength. The light was too far away and while the little plants reached for their goal, it was unattainable and unnatural. The plants still grew, and I had hope.

The tomatoes eventually had enough leaves to transplant outdoors. I put more than a dozen plants into the ground, with high hopes of my pathetic looking little plants overcoming their early life hardship and developing into high yield tomato plants.

Our first rainstorm after planting the tomatoes outside pummeled all but three of the little plants. Those three plants have continued to grow, but they are far from thriving. They are still spindly and pale.

While it was admirable that the tomatoes went with all of their might after the first goal that they were exposed to, it wasn't the right goal. The seeds spent all of their energy going after an unnatural and inappropriate goal. They didn't know it was the wrong goal, they only saw it as light and they sought after it like tomatoes are supposed to. After pouring all of their energy into pursuing a goal that did not provide them the sustenance that they needed, I moved them outside into a natural situation where they should be able to strive. They had already spent their energy. They were done. They may still be alive, but they will never be what they could have been. If they produce fruit, they will be small and few, but more likely they will never even produce a seed that I would be able to use to plant next year. All because they pursued the first goal that was placed before them... the wrong goal.

Monday, May 17, 2010


I worry a lot about money. When I consider buying something, cost is almost always a major factor. We 'rent' our movies from the library because it is free. I can't remember the last movie I paid to see in a theater. I rarely pay to eat out. Other than the one work related activity every month, I can count on one hand the number of times I have eaten out in the last year or two.

I'm cheap and I am very deliberate where my money goes. We make a conscious effort to spend less on gas and electricity and we conserve water the best we can. I am cheap and I have been called a raging tree hugger. I am OK with both descriptions. But when the gas gauge in the car approaches 'E', no matter what else is going on, I go drop $40 to fill it with unenvironmentalism. How is it that something that I am against in so many ways have such control over my life?

Sunday, May 2, 2010


I've been distracted lately. Actually it has been for quite awhile. I'm not talking about a person walking by who attracts my attention or my mild ADD that just doesn't allow me to stay focused for extended periods of time. The main problem is that I don't know what the distraction is.

At work I am excited to be doing a lot of things. I've got projects that will get my work going in the direction that I want it to go, but it's not going. I'm not getting to the projects that I want to be doing.

At home I am excited to do a lot of things, but I'm not getting to them. Or at least I'm not getting to them with the energy that I want to pursue them. I am distract from what I really want to do and what I really want to be.

I've spent a lot of time in academia and have received many grades in my life. I've even given many grades in my life. If I were to grade my life at this point, I would give myself a D+ or C-. With grade inflation of today I would probably end up in the B range, but I've always considered C average and in line with expectations. I am performing below my expectations for myself and I need to step it up a notch if I'm going to judge my life on par with my expectations.

[What I have thus far written, was written yesterday before I ran out of time, and I am continuing now]

I've had some time to reflect on my distraction. In large part, I think I have figured out what it is distracting me and it is 'I'. My focus in life has been too much on me and what I want to do and not enough on others.

In my job I find that I have been thinking too much of what I want to do with my career and the things that I have already done. My thoughts have been about me and my aspirations. My personal aspirations have gotten in the way of the people I want to help and what I can do in the position that I currently hold to best provide for those I wish to serve.

At home I think of the things that I want to accomplish. I focus on my goals as they pertain to my desires. Sure, I spend time with my family and we have fun, but it is after I have finished the things that I need to get done. I focus on what I can do to get my family ahead and I often think too much of the financial concerns that we have and not enough on the time that I have to spend. I've long known that time is far more valuable than money, especially when it comes to dealing with people, but I often dedicate my time at home to accomplishing things (some of those things quite important) rather than time with people (which will always be more important).

If I am going to improve my grade, I need to change the way I study. I need to focus my efforts on others. I am going to go on a fast from 'I'. It has been done before and maybe even right here on this blog, but it needs to be done again. How long can you go without saying, "I"?