Saturday, April 28, 2012

Achievement is overrated

   So last month I was writing about all of the projects I wanted to do,
and believe it or not, I did them. Or like 80 percent. I even have
photos to prove it.
   Terrarium project: I got my plants from Lowe’s — a cute miniature fern
that looks like moss and then a shamrock that was a little too big for
my container but I figured would die back to a more appropriate size.
And die back it did! Now it looks like it’s barely hanging on, so I’m
not sure if that’s going to make it or not. Shamrocks can be amazingly
resilient, so I’m holding out hope that this is still the initial
illness before the recovery that will make it look perfect. If not
then I’ll be back to looking for a new main plant.

   PEEP Show entry: I really put this one off to about a week before it
was due and had to be rescued by Josh with it. I was kind of in a bad
mood the week I was doing it too, so I did not do my best work and
would give the overall product a B-, but I still did it. And what’s
even better, someone had already purchased it by the day Josh and I
finally went to the show to see everyone else’s entries! We had walked
through three rooms of PEEP art and didn’t see it when entering the
fourth and last room, and I was getting really depressed, thinking
they hadn’t displayed it — I know it wasn’t my best effort but there
wasn’t anything offensive with it! — but then we found it hidden
behind some bigger entry. Our theory is that someone bought it to
scrap it for parts for their entry next year (Josh did make a kick-ass
tree out of brown paper and dried moss) or my stalker bought it. But
said stalker has not contacted me to brag about buying my work, so I’m
thinking it wasn’t him.

   I did start my apple blog at work, the best part of which is that it
gives me a reason to search out a new apple variety each week and then
write some silliness about it. If you’re interested, you can find it
   I have not started gardening yet but I usually do get a late start —
need to wait out the worst of pollen season — and I never did make my
biscotti. But I haven’t been drinking tea or hot chocolate either so
there hasn’t been as strong of a desire for biscotti. This one might
be crossed off the list out of disinterest.
   But I did do something I hadn’t formally written on my list that has
been a long time goal, I grew my own mushrooms! My brother and his
girlfriend got me a kit for my birthday and after waiting a few weeks
until I got some traveling out of the way, I started it and then had
about a cup of homegrown oyster mushrooms ready. I probably could have
grown more if I had let it go a little longer, but I wanted to use
them for one of my cooking videos at work (mushroom risotto) so I
harvested them a little prematurely. I thought the smaller ones would
keep growing but they didn’t. However, you get two batches per kit so
I’m getting ready to start my second batch.
   I’ve also wanted to learn how to make my own cheese since I read
Barbara Kingsolver’s “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” a few years ago, and
thanks to my awesome sister-in-law Liz, I’m now a successful cheese
maker! She showed me how to make homemade mozzarella out of whole milk
(we used raw milk from the Amish), citric acid and rennet, the
enzymes. It only took about half an hour and then some cooling time,
but it was awesome, and the cheese was amazing! Definitely planning to
use this as a future cooking video.
   So, as you might have noticed from the title of this post, I’m not
that happy even though I’ve achieved all of these accomplishments. I
guess there is that momentary satisfaction right after you accomplish
them, but in the long run, a terrarium isn’t as exciting as the idea
(or magazine photo) of a terrarium. Gardening on the other, sucks
while you’re doing it (at least for me) but the results do have
long-term appeal. And I think for most of my art and craft projects,
I’m never as happy with the results as I am with doing the actual
   Maybe this means I should be focusing my time on something more
purposeful. That’s probably a given. But how do you find that more
purposeful thing? Hopefully next month I’ll have something useful to
share about this.