[OCT] Farm Stands!

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(Originally posted over on the Ohio Civic Tourism blog. Sometimes, I get to do awesome fun stuff for work. This is my original before it had to be cut down.)

Aside from honoring our fallen war heroes, Memorial Day is traditionally the beginning of summer. The beginning of summer means different things to different people: if you’re a kid, it means school is (or is almost) over; if you’re a boater, it’s time to head to the lake; if you’re a camper, the wilderness is calling; if you’re a motorcyclist, you get to take your road beast out of storage. For Leon and me, California transplants to Columbus five years ago, it’s the start of Farm Stand and Farmers Market Season!

This weekend, we decided to head south out of the city on 23. We have friends who live near Chillicothe, and on the drive down there (usually in the late fall, winter, and spring) we pass several farm stands and always say, “We need to visit those this summer!” We finally did. Fully aware that this is the beginning of the season, we were in no way under any illusions that there would be mountains of fresh, Ohio-grown produce. Keep that in mind as you read.

Our first stop was barely outside of the 270 loop. For a lot of Columbus residents, it seems that this is akin to saying, “We put on diving helmets and went to the moon.” There are a lot of great things about the city, but there are a whole lot more things to do within about an hour or two drive from Columbus. Just south of where 23 meets 317, about 10 minutes south of Columbus, there is a place near Scioto Downs called Lombardi’s. (Side note: between the junction and Lombardi’s is a place called Fox Run. It’s a tiny little shack of a place that their sign claims is “featuring Go-Go Dancers.” Leon looked at the sign, snorted and said, “More like Went-Went Dancers.”) It’s attached to an ice cream shop, and they carry all manner of sauces, dips, preserves, and dressings, as well as butter, cheese, and sweets. They had some onions and potatoes for sale, but it looks like they will really green things up later in the season.

Our next stop was Peter’s Farm Market. We started seeing more green here, mostly in the form of garden plants and flowers, though inside there were some more veggies for sale. They also had their own line of homemade jams, preserves, sauces, and dressings, but for us, their shining star was their bakery. There was an amazing array of fresh-from-the-oven pies and breads. We picked up small loaves of strawberry bread and blackberry bread, as well as a full-sized loaf of the softest sunflower whole wheat bread I’ve ever felt from a small bakery. We also learned from one of the folks there that the strawberry season, due to the quick rise in heat, will sadly be a little short this year. It seems that the prime time for strawberries is coming very quickly this year and won’t last as long. Get ‘em while they’re good!

Our final stop was Bambi’s Farm Market, who open on May 1 and close up for the season on Halloween. They’re about five minutes north of Circleville, and they were stocked with a great array of produce, most of it imported from climates where the growing season starts earlier. They did, however, have a great selection of local jarred goods and honeys. The produce they did have, though, was at a good price and looked and smelled fantastic.

Farmers markets all over the city started this weekend, and while they’re nice and convenient, sometimes it’s nice to get out of the city as well. There are a ton of places to see within a very short drive of the city. Our adventure – one that will be repeated a few times throughout the summer – was less than a 45-minute drive from our home in Whitehall. These places, and dozens like them in all directions, are closer than you may realize. Check out Local Matters, the Ohio Department of Agriculture, and the OSU Extension Service for more possible farm stand possibilities.

Army Wives and Twitter

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One of the TV shows I watch on a regular basis (y’know, like, obsessively…) is Army Wives. I don’t know what drew me to this show; I’ve never been in the military, I’ve never been in a military family, the only person I dated who was active duty was in the Air Force. I’ve seen every episode, though, and it’s always been something of a semi-guilty pleasure. Well, if I felt guilt about things like that. I miss the hell out of Brigid Brannaugh (who played my favorite character, Pamela Moran).

I also follow a lot of celebrities on my Twitter feed. A good chunk of the cast of Army Wives is on there: Terry Serpico, Catherine Bell, Sally Pressman, Wendy Davis, Kim Delaney, Brian McNamara. I’m sure I’m forgetting some, but I doubt any of them are reading my blog (though, if they are? I’ma glitter in my pants, yo). If they comment, I’ll apologize profusely.

Tonight, I sent this message:

@TwoGems57 and @terryserpico – I have to tell you that I really truly appreciate the way you portray the guys on @ArmyWives. It’s awesome.

About ten minutes later, I got this message back:

@GiveMamaSugar @terryserpico @armywives Thanks Jeremy!! That means a lot!!

Yes, I squealed a little bit. It always makes me feel awesome when someone who doesn’t need to do so takes time out of his or her world and mingles, y’know?

The show is great. They’re about to start airing season six in a few weeks (which, incidentally, season five just ended a few weeks ago; I’m used to this show taking MUCH more time between seasons), and I’m looking very forward to it. It’s a fantastic ensemble, and they’ve added a couple of new wives into the mix who are rounding out the show in new and interesting ways. Also, in the last season or two, they’ve started doing more character development with the husbands (hence my tweet to Brian and Terry), which makes me happy as well. It’s rounding out the show a great deal and I hope it goes a quite a while longer.

PS: I totally just discovered that Seamus Dever, who plays Detective Kevin Ryan on Castle (and is also an avid Tweeter) was on Army Wives! OMG!

A Rarity on Several Fronts

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I don’t (think I) often have existential crises, at least not ones bad enough to warrant talking about them. I’m not so sure about this one.

I feel like I’m not “enough” in a lot of ways, but mostly, lately, it’s been in my career. I’m an administrative assistant, and a damn good one. Is there room for improvement? Of course; anyone who thinks that he or she is perfect at his or her job is an egotistical douchebag who needs therapy. However, I’m very good at what I do.

I feel like I’m not grokking the way “the real world” is running these days. Like I’m going through the motions but I’m not catching the right things at the right time. It’s not necessarily anything that anyone has said or done, really, but just an feeling around the office, like I’m expected to fail or explode or something. I don’t like it, and it’s affecting the way I see the job I do.

What’s shitty about this is that I don’t know if it’s being done on purpose or unconsciously, or if I’m just imagining things. Any of the three is possible and/or probable.

Is this my perfect job? I don’t know. Can I see myself here for a good long time? Yes, if given the chance. There are big changes in office procedure coming up soon (yay, new website! yay, new database!), and I’d like to be here to help affect the changes that inevitably need to be made as well as seeing the effects that come from those changes.

I know I’ve got a big strike against me (in the view of at least one co-worker, and it’s not what you think), but I also don’t feel that strike is necessary for me to do my job. My job is to answer phones, keep the office running smooth, document formatting, database clean-up, represent the office to the best of my ability while not making anyone look bad, and do it all in a timely, awesome manner. For the most part, I feel like I’m doing that.

I’ve got two more months before my six-month review; I guess we’ll see where I am at that point. If this is where I’m supposed to be for a while, I’ll be here. If not, I’m sure the right opportunity will present itself. I just have to have faith that everything will work out the right way.

Cranky and hatin’ it

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For some reason, my father has been on my mind a great deal lately, and that’s probably contributing to my feelings of general unrest. I try not to think about my father very often; he’s just not a part of my life, nor has he been since 2004, when he cut me out of his life (well, except for the drunken birthday phone call I got from him in 2009). It’s been over eight years, with only the one 30 minute call where he wanted to put it all behind us.

I’m still not ready to reach out to him. I’m just not. If he wants to repair the situation, he’s more than welcome to reach out. I’m not going to force anything, not when I’m this angry.

Fuck, I’m nearly 40 years old, and I’m still trying to justify myself to this man who hasn’t been in my life for nearly a fifth of it, by his choice. I don’t think he understands that a relationship of any kind is a two-way street and that sometimes, if you want it to work, you have to actually work at it. I’m sure that he’s under the impression that this is a turn-based thing, and that since he made the last move, it’s now my turn. I’m not ready. I’m just… not. And I know that it wears on my grandmother, too, when I talk to her, because I’ll talk to anyone else in the house except for my father or stepmonster (who is an entirely different subject. She’s never liked me, I’ve never liked her, and I couldn’t give two juicy shits if I ever saw her again, religious and societal hypocrite that she is).

I dunno. I’ll get through this. It’s a matter of time. I just need to put them out of my mind. I need to figure out a way to do that. I have far better things that need my attention than this bullshit.