Sunday, January 30, 2011

Introducing..... ME!

     My name is Rebecca Randolph, but everyone calls me Becky.  I am 53 1/2 years old this month and it's been a wild ride.  I titled this blog "My Peculiar Life" because as I look back to my past, ponder my present, and  anticipatew my future, the one word that seems to describe all three phases is the word "peculiar".

I have had many life experiences that are far from the norm.  I don't know anyone else who has had more than 8 step-dads, gone to over 15 different public schools, lived in a different place every year of my childhood (often several places!), had a nervous breakdown before age 16,  weighed over 450 pounds, was homeless, diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, had a gastric bypass, was married to a  paranoid schitzophrenic, had a loaded gun held to her head, lost 270 pounds, married a black man (I'm French/Cherokee), and lived to tell the story.  At least not all those things together.  But all those things are a part of who I am now.  Friends tell me I should write a book.  I don't know about that, each story in itself has been told by numerous and better writers than I.  But held together, I suppose my life does make for interesting reading, if for nothing else, for the weird factor.

So this blog will include stories about my past to illustrate and explain how my life events now affect me and how I respond to them.  I feel I've gained a little wisdom through my varied experiences, and most certainly one's life experiences shape one's current view of the world.  This blog is about my reality, and if you find anything useful in my musings, then perhaps my efforts won't be a total waste of internet space.

To begin, I'll start with the present.  I live in Idaho with my husband, my college-age son and our two miniature dachshunds, Valerie and Velvet.  I use to have two budgies, but they died last year.  Birds do that.  We moved here about 7 years ago from Redding, California after Randy (my SO) retired from his job at Pacific Gas & Electric.  I was a full-time homemaker up until then.  Now I work as a substitute teacher for the high schools here.  I love my job.

     Idaho is beautiful, but with long, cold winters.  I'm not a winter person.  Right about this time of year I start really missing California.  I use to think we had winters there because it actually did get cold and even snowed sometimes- once we even had snow on Christmas!  I was wrong.  I didn't know what Winter was until I moved here.  Now I know.  Winter means bone-chilling, teeth-aching cold winds that cut through you like knives.  It means snow not just falling down from the sky, but blowing sideways so thick you have to pull over because you can't see even one foot in front of you.  It means burst pipes flooding your garage and spending a good half hour digging your car out so you can drive.  Which is just about how long it takes for it to get warm enough to drive without arctic gear.  It means carrying your shoes in your bag to work because you need your snowboots to navigate the parking lot.  Now we have snow on Halloween.  My son would get all dressed up in a cool costume just to cover it up with his parka and snowboots.  In fact, since we've lived here, we've had snow in every month of the year.  Yes, even August.

I've always had a little vegetable garden.  In California, you just threw the seeds at a clump of dirt and BOOM! 8 weeks later you had veggies.  Big, fat string beans, tall corn, huge squash, gigantic tomatoes, lettuce, spinich, the whole works.  Then you'd throw some more seeds at the dirt and 6 weeks after that you'd have a whole new crop of nice fresh veggies. Cukes the size of baseball bats.  canteloupes the size of vollyballs.  Strawberries the size of plums.  You get the picture.  Here, if you plant anything at all, it better be after Labor Day.  That's what our neighbors told us our first year.  Yeah, what do they know?  So we planted our seeds as soon as the weather warmed up as usual, and they did great- for 3 weeks.  The we had a freeze and everything died.  So we replanted, and it got cold again and froze everything again.  The whole garden wilted and dead.  Ugh.  We planted for the third time, and crossed our fingers.  No more freezes, thank God.  We weeded and watered and watched our garden grow, so proud we were!  I began mentally counting my canning jars of home-grown produce I was going to have proudly displayed in my pantry.  Did I say proudly?  By August, our garden was only half-grown, the fruit still green the lettuce and cabbages still tiny, the beans and squash still not even near ready to harvest.  And the corn?  A joke.  Never grew past 1 foot tall.  Then the weather started turning colder, and the newspaper put out a frost warning.  We ran out in the middle of the night to put old blankets on our tomatoes and leaf vegetables.  I even tore the spread off our bed.  No use, next morning everything has a frost beard. Thankfully, not all was lost.  We babied along the survivors until September.  Had to pick everything then before the freeze got them again.  Most of everything was still under ripe.  All that hard work planting, weeding and hoeing for a miserable 1 bushel total of harvest from our garden.  At least the apples and plums were good.  Lots of those.  Randy helped me process and can about 10 bushels of fruit between all 5 trees.  I made jam, juice, apple butter, applesauce.  We felt a little better after that.  The next year, we waited until Labor Day.  And bought these little plastic thingys that you put over the plants to protect them at night, sort of like tucking your little kiddies into bed.  Oh, yes, and we now plant some of it in little planters and start them indoors in April to give our garden a head start.  It's a whole different ball game trying to grow your garden in Idaho.  It was so easy to take things for granted in sunny California.  In fact, when I go to the pantry for some home-grown veggies, I think about how much work went into babying those things along and I hardly have the heart to eat them!  For fifty cents I can grab a can of any vegetable I want to eat without all the work.  So we've cut back to a much smaller, more select garden, and buy the rest at the farmer's market.  Besides, we want to spend more of the warm months traveling and having adventures.  But we do have a beautiful backyard, see?

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