Monday, September 21, 2009

fall equinox (summer retrospective)

it’s about 24 hours until the fall equinox. this summer has been dramatic. i graduated college, went out of the country by myself for the first time, ate dairy and eggs and drank alcohol for the first time in about seven years, grew the best garden ever, made real progress with my photography and getting photo jobs, reconnected with some old friends and relatives, and just generally did a bunch of things that i wouldn’t normally do.

i didn’t like all the changes i made, and i reversed some of them, like the vegetarian thing. last june i was having a bit of a crisis, thinking i’d never taste some of my favorite foods again, so after saying “fuck it” and eating some boca patties that contained cheese (bought by mistake) i kind of went nuts for about three months. cheese is fucking delicious, and i had no idea how maddeningly tasty key lime pie is; i missed eggs, i missed milk chocolate, i missed pizza...but still, it’s not right for me. i’m much more at peace now that i’m vegan again.

i discovered that i’m capable of drinking responsibly. i did not over-do the alcohol thing like i did with the vegetarian stuff. and i think i’m ok with continuing to drink every once in a while.

my cousin lauren emailed me for the first time in years. she’s getting married and i’m invited to her wedding in key west, december 2010. i don’t know if i’ll make it, but it’s good to talk to her again. i’ve been talking to my cousin kelly more, too; she just went off to graduate school at duke, so she’s having culture shock issues in south carolina.

speaking of culture shock, i got to experience being a minority for the first time when i went to belize. just getting on the plane from texas to belize was like flipping a switch...all of a sudden all the intercom instructions were in spanish first, then english; same with printed signs. i think i realized intellectually but never experienced first-hand what a huge privilege it is to speak and understand the dominant language of a region; and experiencing it is a whole different animal. when you can’t understand anyone around you, it’s so completely alienating...also, it’s totally american of me to go to a foreign country and expect them to speak my language. english is the official language of belize on paper, but most people i ran into there spoke it as a second language, if at all.

the U.S. customs process makes a person feel like less than a human being. i think i got the deluxe treatment, since i was travelling alone to a central american country, unemployed, just graduated when i arrived at the houston airport on the way back, first i went through this initial screening process where you file through a gate like cattle, they look at your passport and ask you personal questions in a creepy, deliberately-friendly sort of way, scribble some unintelligible symbols on your paperwork that advise the next guy to send you into a high-ceilinged, dreary, fluorescent room that’s empty except for desks and conveyor-belt-tables where some gray, mustached dude will unsmilingly paw through your luggage, study your customs declaration card, ask you about what you bought, mutter to himself, fail to make eye contact, and finally allow you to go on to the next stop. i have a guilty conscience, so even though i knew there were no drugs in my bag, i stood there like, “oh god, please don’t find the drugs in my bag.”

anyway, that’s kind of a sidetrack. i still need to write about my experiences in belize but now is not the time to do it.

i got this orchid on march 20, and it’s been blooming all spring and summer. the stem kept growing longer and sprouting more buds. even though orchids have a reputation for being high-maintenance, this thing has thrived on less attention than i’d give a cactus…i only water it about once a month, and it just sits there and does its thing. but i’m pretty sure this is its final bloom. it’s been open since early august, and just in the last few days it’s shown signs that it’s about to crumple up and fall off.

the tomato plants have been exploding with more tomatoes than i know what to do with. there’s an overabundance of peppers, too. other plants did not do as well and produced some monstrous cross-breeds--for instance, the orange abomination pictured above is (i believe) a cross between a cucumber and pumpkin. i’ve dubbed it a “pukin” (long “u”).

jason and i had a conversation about squash:

me: it is insane how fast squash grow.
he: and how big they get too.
me: yeah no kidding. monsters!
he: ...a squashster...
me: a sasquash!

so there you have it. sasquash and pukin. two new words to add to your gardening vocabulary.

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