Monthly Archives: May 2016

Bee-Day 2016

After months of planning, reading, and You-Tubing, the day has finally come. As of 4pm today, my husband and I are officially beekeepers.

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I’m a city girl at heart, so never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine I’d live in an area where I’d have a garden, much less a beehive. But it turns out that Colorado is pretty liberal when it comes to zoning regulations, and despite having only a quarter-acre of land, according to county law, we’re allowed to have ducks, chickens, goats, and bees chilling in our backyard. Discussion on whether we’re going to become duck and goat owners is ongoing, but we now have a hive of honeybees to call our own.

Although I’d like to pretend we’re doing this for purely altruistic reasons (the state of the world’s bee population is getting pretty dire), I’m most excited about the beauty products I can make, and Adam is most excited about having access to fresh honey and being able to eat honeycomb whenever he wants.

We had to drive about an hour away to the middle of a muddy field to pick up our sealed crate of bees (officially known as a “nucleus”) and then drive home with them in the back of our SUV. Every time we hit a bump, I had visions of 30,000 bees escaping their temporary prison and swarming us to take retribution. But we made it home without incident and suited up to transfer our new pets from their box to their permanent home.

Step #1: smoke the hell out of the bees. The smoke dulls their communication channels, which keeps them from swarming.

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Step 2: pry the frames apart and carefully move the frame from the temporary box to the hive.

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Eventually, you’ll have all the bees transferred. If you managed to do this without completely freaking out, you did much better than us!

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Over the next few weeks, we’ll feed the bees sugar water and “pollen patties” we purchased from our local bee store (that’s a thing – who knew?) so they can focus on “brooding” (making babies). Once the population has grown by about 50%, we’ll add more frames (the black things) so they can continue to expand. In two months or so, the hive population will be large enough to be self-sufficient and we can stop feeding them. Then they’ll be making HONEY!!

Provided, of course, that we don’t somehow kill them in the meantime. Wish us luck!

Rapt awe

Yesterday, in my (much needed) yoga class, our instructor read a quote from Albert Einstein that I hadn’t heard before:

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.

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Although I’m sure Albert meant for his quote to inspire others to explore the heavens and take on grandiose projects to better mankind (i.e. something for geniuses to worry about – mark that N/A for me), our yoga instructor issued a challenge for each of us.

She said, “Every day, find something, anything, and take a moment to stand in rapt awe.”

Um, excuse me?

How could that be possible on a daily basis? Everyday life, for me anyway, consists of early-morning alarms, coffee, dishes, work, trips to the grocery store, maybe some exercise if I’m lucky, cooking dinner, wine, and more dishes.

Is it just me, or does none of that sound particularly glamorous, much less rapturous?

Just as I was about to dismiss the instructor as delusional, she went on. I’m paraphrasing, because we were in Warrior 3 and I was mostly concentrated on not falling over, but she said something like this:

If you’re like most of us, whose daily lives are not what we would think of as profound or rapture-worthy, remember the miracle that is your body. Consider the thousands of tiny miracles happening in your body right now, at this moment, to hold you in this pose. Stand in rapt awe of your body’s ability, of your body’s strength.

And then she let us go into child’s pose and I was so happy I could cry, but I also couldn’t believe how much I needed to hear that. Life is rapture-worthy. Getting out of bed in the morning is extraordinary. All these things we think of as mundane and tedious and tiresome are actually remarkable.

I get caught up in the daily grind, the minutiae of moving from one day to the next, without stopping to appreciate that each day is special and precious and profound in its own way. So now I have a new goal – to find something incredible about each and every day.

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A beautiful sunrise is a pretty good place to start.

Here comes the sun

After Tuesday’s doom and gloom post, I’m back with some great news. We’re still waiting on all the test results to come back, but the doctor was very optimistic about the tests that have come back, and it seems like Tuesday’s health scare was just that – very scary, but nothing to worry about.

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That coupled with the fact that I was able to get several work projects out the door and off my plate, plus knowing that my boss was boarding a red-eye flight to Hawaii last night made yesterday a pretty great day for me.

Hubby and I celebrated the good news by starting to plant vegetables in our garden boxes.

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Rosemary in the back, plus 6 different hot pepper plants. Hubby can’t get enough hot peppers.

Because there’s no better way to celebrate good health than by planting new life.

(Sorry. Sometimes my repressed inner hippie likes to come out.)

We also celebrated by opening a bottle of very nice wine my grandfather gave us when we got engaged. For almost four years now we’ve been saving it “for a special occasion”. But then we realized, life is short, drink the good wine. We spent Wednesday night cooking dinner, dancing around to Jimmy Buffett, and drinking an $80 bottle of French wine in our gym clothes. It was absolutely perfect, and while not exactly the “special occasion” we’d been envisioning, it felt pretty damn special to us.

 

In which I complain about trivial things in order to avoid actual problems

I’m burned out. On work, on travel, on even routine interactions with clients. Where usually I’m a Type A perfectionist, now I’m taking shortcuts and crossing my fingers no one will notice. Some of the best professional advice I’ve received has been something my grandmother used to say, which never made sense until one of my counselors gave it a 21st century update. “A stitch in time saves nine.” Or, doing shit right the first time is actually much faster than rushing through and having to go back and re-do it.

I was supposed to be in Hawaii this week, for work. It was an all-expenses paid trip, with first class travel there and back, and when plans changed and the company sent someone else instead of me, I did a happy dance around my hotel room. My husband said I was crazy, but working in Hawaii is still work, and I’m too overwhelmed to even think about adding something else onto my plate at this point.

One of my clients, to whom I’ve sent hundreds of emails, plus met in person or spoken to on the phone upwards of 50 times, has started responding to my emails “Hi Gary”. It’s so bizarrely infuriating, because in addition to my name being part of my email address, it’s right there in my signature. One email with the wrong name I could chalk up to a simple mistake, but when we’ve gone back and forth all day and they’ve all had the incorrect name? That ish is on purpose. Rather than realizing her antics come from a place of extreme insecurity (my firm has been recommending for several months that her bosses fire her or take away the promotion – and HUGE pay raise – she received last year), I’m letting it get to me. So far I’ve managed to respond to all her emails politely, but it’s only a matter of time before I snap and respond with “Hi Joseph”.

Opening my email has become a terrifying game of “who’s crying the loudest roulette”. I’m so far behind on the work I owe to so many people, my only strategy for dealing with it has been to turn in whatever project is being demanded that day. While easiest in the extremely short run, it prevents me from actually doing the work I’m actually assigned to do, and results in me barely treading water. I had to turn off email notifications on my cell phone, because every time my email beeped I was getting heart palpitations.

And of course I typed all of that because those are the things in my life that are going wrong that I can deal with. I can handle work pressure. I can deal with being overwhelmed at the office. I can tell my overflowing inbox to fuck off.

My husband had a pretty serious health scare this morning, and that I can’t deal with. He’s with me in DC this week, thank God. I can’t type what’s actually going wrong, because that would make it too real. We can’t do anything or know anything until we get him an appointment with the doctor, back in Denver. So I’m going to continue to do what I do best. Act on what is actionable (making the doctor’s appointment) while denying (despite pretty obvious facts) that anything serious is going on.

Apologies for the super gloomy Tuesday morning post, but I needed to clear my head before I phone dive into work and count down the minutes until the doctor’s office opens in a few hours.