On A Personal Note… (Or: What I Did On My Summer Vacation)

At this time of year millions of kids have to write essays entitled, “What I Did On My Summer Vacation.”

I thought I would write a grown-up version of “What I Did On My Summer Vacation” to explain what’s been going on in life beyond this blog. So, at the risk of getting all Opera Singer on you (you know, “me, me, me mee meee me, me, me!”) here’s a quick overview.

Job Stuff

Snapshot of my life: attempted multi-tasking with laptop and canning jars.

Homebrew Husband quit his Super Corporate Job two days ago to work freelance and contract positions which will (hopefully) give him more time with the family and more flexibility.

We’ve been talking a lot over the past several months about moving to a more diverse, income-quilt style of earnings, and as part of that I’ve been working on getting more paid writing gigs. I have several in the pipeline, including three feature-length articles on contract for a few great magazines. I am very excited about this.

As you know, this is an ad-free blog. Many of you have been generous enough to directly support the info and edutainment and free downloadables here with a few dollars in the tip jar. Every dollar of those donations is an important part of the income quilt Nick and I are hoping to weave, but I personally need to step-it-up a bit in the take-home. So, rather than bring in ads on this site (ugh) some of my writing time has to go elsewhere, which means less posts every week on NW Edible. Until I have more hours in the day or more childcare things have to compromise somehow.

Health Stuff

I had surgery scheduled for something non-emergent but needed-to-be-dealt-with in October. When Homebrew Husband opted to quit his job with its nice Corporate Healthcare to leap at a great contracting opportunity that came his way, I scrambled to see if it was possible to move my surgery up so that it could happen when we were still covered by low-deductable healthcare. It looked like that was not going to be possible, but at the last minute a cancellation opened up and I am now scheduled for surgery this Monday.

This means a whole bunch of time setting up logistics to get childcare and transportation worked out for my two kids because Nick, being in the “two weeks notice” phase of his out-going Corporate Job, really can’t take time off.  So, I’m finding people to take my daughter to the bus and people to cover shifts at my part-time job and people to watch my son for pre-op and post-op visits, friends to hang out with me in the days following surgery and help with my son…and all that normal stuff that goes along with scheduling medical crap. I’m just doing it on a pretty tight timeline.

Also in Health News, some of you have asked me what ever happened with my son and his possibly auto-immune related Magic Hypercolor Blue Hands and me and my definitely auto-immune related Thing That Needed A Double Biopsy. This doesn’t immediately relate to what’s going on right now, but this is probably as good a place as any to update you.

I took my son to see the regional experts in Pediatric Rheumatology and two kind and lovely doctors spent over an hour checking out my boy. He’s fine. He does not have Reynaud’s Syndrome as we feared (though even if he did it wouldn’t have been that bad). He was diagnosed with “confused veins.” Apparently, just like the rest of him, his blood supply system moves fast, and when he gets a little cold those veins overreact by closing down too quickly. But, no tissue damage is occuring when this happens and the prescription is to simply keep him in warm mittens if he goes out on a chilly day.

As for me, I started taking a handfull of nice hippie pills every morning including fish oil, vitamin D and turmeric and that seems to have done the trick because the external symptoms of my auto-immune thing just spontaneously resolved. Yay!

Back-to-School Stuff

“Mom, can I have something more for lunch…anything that’s not vegetables would be good.”

Wow, back-to-school is a big transition! My daughter is in third grade which is surreal because I have such clear memories of my own third grade year. We weren’t the greatest about keeping an early-to-bed, early-to-rise schedule through the summer so getting back onto Bus Stop and School Bell schedule has been like a bucket of cold water on our heads every damn morning.

On a really positive note, I bought my daughter Story of the World on audio book for a back to school present. This is a kid-version of world history, heavy on the story-telling and mythology (the biggest complaint is that the author can get a little more excited about the story than about keeping her facts and dates straight). My daughter is an audio-book fiend anyway, and love, loves, loves this series. She listens to it 24/7 and asked me for headphones this morning so she could keep listening on the bus on her iPod.

She came downstairs the other day and told me, “Hey Mom, you know that guy Nero? He ruled Rome. Yeah. He was a TOTAL jerk!” Anything that makes history that compelling is a winner in my book. Highly recommended for homeschooling or afterschooling if you are comfortable with world history being presented as a fun story during your child’s first go-round with the information, knowing that the specifics will get filled in on subsequent passes.

Homesteading Stuff

5 gallons of salsa is a lot of salsa.

Can-o-rama has continued. My head has been in a canning pot far too much these past weeks. More pickles, 5 gallons of lacto-fermented salsa, dried nectarines, dries pears, pear sauce, peach salsa, and more. Tomato paste (made with my free sauce method) is in the crock pot right now. Every day something is getting picked or preserved. Usually both.

Tomato paste-to-be in the crock pot.

I finally opted to take this upcoming week off of additional food preservation and skip buying fruit from my normal farmers because I’ll be recovering for several days post-surgery and I don’t want anything rotting while I’m out of commission.

Other Stuff

On top of everything, my boy turned two just a few days ago, my car was in an accident that totalled the vehicle in late June and my wedding ring was probably stolen in August. So I’ve spent a fair amount of time in the last several months dealing with the logistics of insurance reimbursement. With the exception of my son’s birthday, these things sucked. Hard.

My son was not driving when this happened.

That’s life.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to. What did you do on your summer vacation?


  1. Tiff says

    I’m bummed that you will be writing less, because I love your writing style! Ok so what did I do this summer? Well I harassed you a ton, as I tripped, screamed, cried and most importantly laughed my ass off learning how to organically grow food. One thing this venture has taught me is that my ‘dumpster diving’ past is alive and well and that I have some mad skills at farm sales!
    We where able to run away from the farm for a fun filled week down in southern oregon. Oh god the sun!!! My partner was in an accident to, car lost and she is good. My chore list increased when she got a new job, we started a tiny flock of chickens, and are loving them! Went to the GOATALYMPICS and had a blast!!! Took home some ribbons, and raised a good deal of money for NewMoon goat rescue and sanctuary. I’m in a holding pattern waiting for yet another surgery ( dang hand) and we are talking about moving. Of course fill in the blanks with the daily stuff that needs to be done on 5 acres, with goats, dog’s a Llama, and a house cat. Oh and the worlds best chickens! Beatrice, Fahgel, and Fiddle

  2. dixiebelle says

    Best of luck for a smooth operation and recovery! I am also relieved and happy for your little boy as well.

    I have found that since my husband changed jobs earlier in the year, and is now a contractor, we get more money, have some more job security, but he doesn’t have more time, or brain-space/ energy for home projects than before! I mean, this way he isn’t working as much overtime as before (for nothing), but I hope it does mean more time & flexibility for your husband!

    Send me some salsa, if you find you’ve got too much!

    Fantastic news with the paid writing gigs… you are a great writer! I hope it leads to more opportunities too… paid ones!

  3. says

    My husband works contract and we’ve made that choice for our family, too. While it can be hard (currently 2+ mo without a steady gig), we eat breakfast and dinner together every day. And sometimes lunch. I bring him lunch or treats (to his “office” in our bedroom) most days. He can help out here and there or come when there’s a crisis. It’s meant a lot of sacrifice (much less income, pretty bad health insurance, less stability, etc…) but the time we have together is very unusual and incredibly precious to us all. I wish you the best with this. I think it’s the scariest choice we’ve ever made, but so worth it. Also, best wishes for your surgery! (And I will absolutely leave you a tip when my husband gets a steady job again! You’ve been invaluable to me.)

  4. Dawn says

    Sending you good vibes for a quick recovery! Congrats to your family on making the big leap away from the corporate life. We made a similar choice years ago and have never regretted it. If you can envision it, you can make it work – especially people as resourceful as you! I can’t say we’re less busy – but its all work we love and we often get to do it from home. If you’re going to have to work a lot, its sure nice when you can share your workday lunchtime in the backyard with your husband. And a cat in your lap while you work is a pretty good bonus too. Now go put those commuter coffee mugs out on the curb with a big FREE sign on them.

  5. Tamara says

    Mom and I are heavy into canning green beans, pickles, tomato sauce, and dehydrating apples, peaches, and plums right now. We have dug up all but one of our potato beds and I think we are set for potatoes through the winter (fingers crossed). Haven’t weighed all the boxes yet, so not sure what the total weight was of the potatoes, but we did have a 2 lb 1.5 oz russet potato!!! Getting two new pigs (meat pigs) on Saturday, YAY! Have two more batches of meat chickens to butcher then are done for the year. We are still working on the fabulous garden organizer you sent to Mom!!! Trying to be more organized and keep track of how many and what we planted and where, and what we were able to harvest, and how many jars we canned out of what we grew or purchased.

    Hope your procedure goes well and wishing you a speedy recovery! Glad Homebrew Husband was able to make the change to being able to be home more! Talk to you later!

  6. says

    You totally deserve to be paid for your writings. We will be grateful for any snippets you share here, and will be proud to be able to say we knew you first! Do remember that your blog readers are a great fan base and free advertisers. All the best with your ‘quilt’. That is exactly what I have always called the way we make a living here in the Kootenays. And of course, the best with the upcoming surgery. Know that you are widely loved.

  7. Elizabeth F says

    Well good luck with everything. Though I have figured out that 99.9% of the time things seems to work out pretty well, despite first glance.

    My summer was unusually hot and dry here , the garden was not its best. Am missing a freezer full of fruit that I normally would have had. Turns out from what I have read we had the worst summer in the nation.

    I started out my summer with an unexpected 5 day hospital stay and surgery. No small children to figure out but my husband and I run our own small business. That left him and one part time employee to do it all. So I missed about 2 weeks at work. Apparently when a gall stone gets caught in your common bile duct you get acute pancreatitis. For those of us uninsured you also get a very large bill.

    Best of luck with the future writing assignments.

  8. says

    I’ve been wondering why you’ve had fewer posts lately. I’m glad you guys are headed towards a more fulfilling life in regards to income. I can’t wait to read your articles!

  9. says

    Congrats on the paid writing gigs! What a great way to add to your income quilt. Totally understand the decrease in writings here and am just happy for you that you can make a little money off it.

    • says

      Omega 3’s from both salmon and cod liver oil by the handful plus turmeric and vitamin D. My Dr. also recommended Arnica, though I haven’t yet added that to the mix. :)

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