Wednesday, July 9, 2014



It's that time of year, friends.  Weeds, weeds, weeds.  They're in the front landscaping, in the back garden, coming up in the cracks of the driveway, sidewalk, and patio...

They're ugly.
They're persistent.
They rob nutrients from the plants that give food and beauty.
They infest.
They multiply.
They take over, and try as I may, they just keep coming back.

In my life, I have really only known 3 methods of weed control: PreventPoison, or Pull.

Now, this seems like the best way.  Don't let weeds get into your garden in the first place.  Put weed paper down.  Cover it in something pretty, like wood chips or river rock.  You're done, right?  You did it right.  You won't have to worry about those pesky weeds invading your beautiful garden territory.  But they're going to sneak in eventually.  Near the edging.  In the holes you had to cut to fit the plants through.  And no matter how carefully you protect your garden from them, the weeds are going to get in.  They're going to search around under the surface until they find a nice little opening to poke their ugly heads through.  And eventually, that weed paper is going to disintegrate, and you'll need to start all over again anyway.  
But it's still worth it to try to protect from those nasty little nutrient suckers.

It's easy enough, right?  You hate weeds.  You spray poison on them.  It kills the weeds.  Sure, you can't let your kids or dogs near the weeds for a while, and don't get it on the plants that you want to thrive, because it will kill them too... And gosh, I hope it doesn't happen to rain and wash all of those toxic chemicals into our water supply...  And... oh... what's that?  The weeds are back even after I poisoned them?  Huh.

Pulling weeds is annoying.  Relentless.  Pull them up.  Try to get it all, even the root, so it won't come back.  Get one all the way down to the root, the one next to it won't cooperate.  It breaks in half, and you know you'll be pulling at it again in a week.  Pull some more, set them aside.  Pull.  Pull.  Pull... Boring, methodical, relentless.  Over and over again, if you gently, but persistently pull your weeds, and you've protected against them with proper weed paper, they aren't as much of a problem.

The other day, as I was out in my yard, yet again, pulling my abundant weeds, a neighbor friend of mine  informed me that I could kill my weeds down to the root with BOILING water.  I didn't know this.  Completely non-toxic, inexpensive... boiling water.  Huh.  That's something new.

And that got me thinking.  Weeds are a lot like the negative things in our lives-- harsh thoughts, addictions, disease, divorce... We can do our best to prevent against them, but some of those negative things are going to push through.  We can poison them, but the damage the poison does to the environment around us might be worse than what we started with.  And it might not even do the job!  We can pull and pull and pull, but unless we get to the root of the problem, we are right back where we started.  And it seems that there are two ways to get to the root of the problem:  Gently and persistently extract the problem (which will need to be done weekly, if not daily) or pour boiling hot water over the top of the problem and let the pain invade every single part of the problem until the pain speaks louder than my unwillingness to change.

Both are painful.  One is fast, the other takes a lifetime of commitment.

My youth has been spent boiling.  Trying to get rid of the nasty things in life as quickly as possible, even if painful, and if I missed a big patch, I'd just ignore it, thinking I'd come back to take care of it later.

But as I age, I am beginning to honestly enjoy the process of crouching near my garden while the boys play ball, and quietly, one by one, pull and pull and pull, sometimes knowing that I'm going to have to come back to that one, and other times enjoying the satisfaction of getting all the way down to the root of the problem.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


It had been coming on for a while.  The pain in my hands, wrists, and elbows, that is.  The cramping, numbness, weakness, aching... The inability to un-clench my grip on things-- a spoon, a pen, a toy...

My 20-minute Bikini Body Mommy workouts were KILLING me.  Planks, push-ups, mountain climbers... You name it, it seemed like EVERY part of the workout included putting tons of pressure on my hands, wrists, and elbows.  And I began to dread them.  Those workouts that had my body changing and my mood lifting were making me ache for days, and since they're 6 days a week, the ache on top of repeated ache made me want to quit.

And I did.  For a little while.

And then I thought, I signed up for 90 days.  I'm trying to become not-a-quitter. Get back on the wagon.  Just make some modifications.

And the nasty mean voice in my head said, You knew you'd never follow-through anyway.  You might as well just give up.  You know you can't finish anything.  And you're already behind like a million days.  There's no way you can catch up.  Besides, modifications are for wimps.  You'll look like a weenie who can't do it right.  Either suck it up and do it right or don't do it at all.

So I thought, That's interesting, Mean Voice, but you're wrong.  And no one is watching me work out,  unless I work out on the trail by my house in which case I've been looking like an idiot doing my squats, jumping jacks, and burpees in the middle of the trail anyway, so you're making a moot point, Mean Voice.   

Then I came across the "Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can." quote from Arthur Ashe.  

I took his advice.

I modified.

It was still a good workout.  My wrists, elbows, and hands were in less pain when I was done.  I didn't have to all-out skip anything.

Take that, Mean Voice.

Now, I wonder if this applies to so many other things in life.  I've always had this, "If I can't do it perfectly, I'm not going to do it at all" type of attitude with everything, but it hasn't served me well lately.  Mostly it's turned into a lot of "I'm not going to do it at all"s.  

Can "good enough" really be good enough?  Can doing it "mostly right" for good be better than doing it perfectly for 15 minutes then quitting?

It's worth a try, I guess.  After all, if I wind up failing at being "good enough," I can always be perfect instead.