Here's what's making April a happy month for me.
Planning an amazing retreat.
What do you get when combine a conference, a retreat, and a vacation - and a group of bloggers? Why, it's Blogcation Retreat! I'm so excited to be one of the organizers for this amazing event and I can't wait to see everyone who comes out to participate at the end of May (and I hope to see some of you there!) You can sign up at blogcationretreat.com.
Cheap and cheesy movies.
Wedding Ringer, you delivered. House Bunny, you never get old. Rainbow Cinemas, bless you and your $2 Tuesdays.
Loving simple souvenirs.
With a few exceptions, I tend to avoid souvenir shopping entirely when I travel. There's neither room in my bag nor anything spare in my wallet! But there's one thing I picked up in Hawaii a few years ago that I love so much I wanted to get some more. I can't really explain why, but the metal water bottle from the Pacific National Parks is the best water bottle in the world.
It's strong and durable and is the perfect shape for fitting into backpack side slots. It has a handy clip for easy attachment. It doesn't give off any kind of weird taste to the water. And it looks really cool, showing a map of all the Hawaiian and American Samoan National Parks.
My old bottle was still going strong (minus a few dents and basically with all the lettering scratched off) but I wanted a few more so I'd always have one at home, in my pack, and in the car. A tip of the hat to Volcanoes National Park for the free water refilling stations where rainwater is filtered through sand to make it clean and drinkable. Some of the purest, most refreshing water I've ever had! (And your $10 purchase price supports the work of National Parks).
Old washer/dryer, new-but-never-used weed whacker, 27 inch tube TV - your days are numbered. Looking forward to donating to local charities and reclaiming some serious garage space.
Gardening - or un-gardening, as it may be.
For years, Ryan and I had a massive 25'x50' plot at the community garden association just across the street from our house. While gardening was a sharp learning curve, we threw ourselves into it, passing the winter by ordering incredibly tempting seeds (let's pause for a shout out to Prince Edward Island's Vesey's Seeds) and starting hundreds of seedlings in a plastic greenhouse before tilling up the weeds from last year's plot. And planting. And we planted EVERYTHING.
Peas, beans, carrots, parsnips, tomatoes (up to 20 varieties and 50 plants), cucumbers, potatoes, ground cherries, strawberries, hot peppers, bell peppers, corn (screw you, raccoons. We never did get to harvest any corn.), garlic, onions, squash, zucchini, melon, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, greens, kale, radish and..... oh yeah... TURNIPS! We were gardening machines.
Until we weren't. Turns out, when we really, REALLY took a hard look at things, we loved the idea of gardening more than actually gardening itself. We loved looking at seed catalogs and planning for next year's plot. We did not love planting. Or watering. Or even harvesting. We definitely did not love weeding. After several years, gardening went from a dream, to a project, to a responsibility, and finally to a chore. A chore we relentlessly avoided. Traveling didn't help but the real hindrance was us. Our hearts were no longer in it.
Last year we tried scaling back, formally giving up our plot and just concentrating on a few choice backyard crops. Which we ignored with the same reckless abandon as we had the garden plot. So this spring I'm calling a spade a spade (get it?!) We're out of the vegetable gardening game. And it feels GREAT! I'm giving up gardening guilt and going to the farmers' market. (Or not. Either way, it's okay).