My Tiny Postage Stamp Garden & Avocado Toast
Today marks the first day of eating a vegetable that I GREW. My cucumber may have been picked a tiny bit early, but nonetheless was delicious and perfect. It may be the world's most expensive cucumber when you add up the cost of my garden, however small it may be, but we don't care about these things. We care only about the organic homegrown cucumber things. When we add cream cheese and avocado into the mix, all things in life are trumped, including small children.
When I planted my tiny postage stamp garden – my one pot with six plants in it “garden” – I did it to prove to my husband that I did in fact want a real life big garden. A raised-bed garden in a big backyard, that I would actually take care of and not get bored of or “too busy” to keep alive (the latter being what happened to our very sad fiddle leaf fig which died promptly when our baby was born. A girl can only keep a few fragile things alive at once and myself and a one-day old human took precedence).
I have been dreaming of this since I started dreaming about babies and backyards ten years ago. In fact, I remember the exact moment that it occurred to me that if I got pregnant I would and could take care of the baby with ease and certainty. I was 21. So, ten years ago that seed was planted with permanence and what felt like a far-off-someday became what I truly knew in my bones that I wanted. In fact, it’s the only thing I’ve ever known for sure, 100%, that I absolutely wanted. For sure.
A few months ago, Joe and I got into quite a discussion (fight) about houses and dreams. Since he’s known me I have had many big dreams – Bailey’s Breakfast Burritos, my drive thru breakfast burrito restaurant, Big Heart Box, my monthly give back craft project for kids to do and send to a family in need, Horseshoe Hopes, my Etsy shop that sells good luck horseshoes, etc. etc. into infinity.
Well, we happened to get into this heated discussion while driving to a restaurant in Palm Springs on a weekend getaway. Joe had said hypothetically if we were to have a second home, he wanted it there. I know, this is a very first world hypothetical problem to discuss, but hear me out.
I immediately nixed Palm Springs. No way. We are not having a home in Orange County, and a Palm Springs home, which is basically the same sterile lifestyle that we already live, just with pools and more golf. Blah. Boring. No.
What we need is a mountain house – a lake house. I’ve always dreamed of a lake house, where the kids can canoe and run in the woods, and live life jumping off the dock while we sip homemade wine coolers in our Adirondack chairs.
Joe’s response, as logical is it was, was, “OK. And where might this lake house be?”
By now we are in the restaurant with our 4-month baby sleeping in the car seat, ordering God knows what wine, and saying “yes” to whatever the waiter asks us. I guess we are both having specials, sure.
The argument starts here when I admit that I don’t know where the lake is, but I have a vision about it.
It’s clear that both of us now in our minds feel that we are buying a second home with certainty, to be decided tonight. We are bougie and wealthy and this is our biggest problem now.
I start explaining a few summer trips to Lake Pillsbury with my God Parents, and my love of the woods, and our kids being resilient and independent which can ONLY happen in the woods, and we currently live in suburban hell which is going to make them monsters, and this is the only solution.
Joe again, “OK fine, let’s say we decide to get a house in the woods, what woods, where are they? How are we going to get there with all the children that you want?”
He continues to tell me about how I dream all these dreams all day, but don’t back it up with actual effort to prove it. He feels like I just randomly come up with unfounded ideas and throw them at the wall to see what sticks, when HIS ideas are based in the reality of what he knows and likes (mainly golf and convenience).
I started getting emotional about it, tearing up a little because he never takes me seriously, and we always do what he wants, on and on we go talking now about our childhoods, how to raise our kids, who is worse at that, and who has more thoughtful dreams for our future. It’s a slippery slope.
The discussion ends with me promising to find this magical lake house, which went from hypothetical to very real so quickly.
“I’ll find it, and show you. Mark my words.”
We finally finish dinner, and as we take a break to sign the bill and breath a minute, this cute older man who is out to dinner with his wife taps Joe on the shoulder.
“Excuse me sir”, the man says to Joe. “I just wanted to comment on how impressed I am by you and your wife. You never once took out your phones, and seemed so immersed in conversation with each other. That is such a nice sight to see.”
We look at him with the surprise eyes emoji faces on. We were so focused on arguing about something that really doesn’t matter, that we forgot to be absorbed in even less-important things on our phones. It made me smile to think that even if it was an argument, we were connecting about something and working hard to dream a dream. And maybe that does matter.
Six months later, and I have not done a single Google search and am now talking about relocating our family to Austin, Texas so we can live on a small farm and make goat cheese. Obviously.
So this is why my husband thinks my dreams are more like idle threats. And this is also why I have to wonder if he’s right. Do I just feel entitled to all the things I dream up, without working for them? Do I even know what I want or why I want it?
One of the drawbacks of being a lifelong people pleaser is that you often have no idea what you want, above what the wants of others are, and when you have the opportunity to grasp onto that something YOU want, you feel you don’t deserve it. Am I letting that be my life?
So I realize, like many things in life, that I can have my garden now if I really want it. I can make do with what space I have (or don’t have) and prove to my damn self of my dreams, and that I not only just like to think about them, but I like to make them real too.
This is also what I’ve done with writing. Want to be a writer? Think that’s your calling? Prove it. Prove it so hard to yourself that you crave 5 am wake ups to write, and skin your emotional knees getting back up on the bicycle to get published. Prove it so hard that you can defend yourself against naysayers who raise their eyebrows at your over appetizers on your double date night while explaining that what’s new is you’re writing a book. Prove it so hard that you can afford to make it your day job without giving your entire family anxiety-diarrhea.
So far, we love gardening. It’s here to stay. And I’m damn proud of it.
2 slices of sourdough toasted just a little too much to get a good crunch
1/4 cucumber (homegrown if you're cool) sliced and chopped loosely
2 Tablespoons of cream cheese (ok, 3 Tablespoons)
Though simple, this avocado toast is addicting. Prepare to eat a loaf of bread and six avocados. It's called good fat, my friends, good fat.
Toast your toast per your usual toasting. Swipe the cream cheese on there. As much as you'd like. Slice the avocado on top of that, and just plunk it on with the knife. No need to blend the avocado or mash it - just throw it on there. Lay cucumber on top in a thin layer. Sprinkle garlic salt on top of all of it. Enjoy.
*I garnished the dish with some tomato flowers, because I love flowers on my food, as my food, and in the general vicinity of my food.