Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I'm excited!!!

Want to know why?

I am finally on Amazon! FEARLESS, an anthology of 11 short stories, is now available in Kindle eBook format, freshly edited and with a new fancy-schmancy cover. I'm also on Twitter @GabWhiteWrites.

Both of these new arrivals are just a warm-up for my planned January release of AMERICAN BABY, which has been a long, hard road in the making, and of several new projects which I have been beating myself to a pulp over.

I will have a pretty heavy schedule for a while between work, home life and writing, but isn't that what makes us thankful for our blessings?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sleepless in Kentucky

I hate insomnia with the fiery passion of a thousand burning suns. I've cut down to one cup of a coffee a day, I'm exercising, trying all the fun tricks that are supposed to get your body into the right place for sleep.

Well, the body is willing, but my mind is a raving lunatic, fueled by some sort of demonic energy drink. It moves at a million miles an hour, compiling lists and information, reordering, analyzing, questioning and popping up the random sparkly purple squirrel, just for fun. I spend all night tossing and turning, and finally fall into a completely not restful death-sleep for a couple of hours right about the time I need to get up. If I manage that much.

So, I'm doing silly stuff. I put the peanut butter in the fridge. I put my jeans on backwards (and then spent at least 60 seconds staring at them wondering what was wrong with them). I might have even taken a load of laundry from the dryer and loaded it into the washer. Thankfully, I might also have realized it before I added soap and water. It reminds me of my mother when she worked three jobs, with her shoes and keys in the fridge and the milk in the cabinet.

Damn you, insomnia- let me sleep!

Monday, June 10, 2013


A very large part of me just wants to give up right now. The past few months have felt like a particular sadistic demon had made it his personal fetish to put us repeatedly through a meat grinder.

So far we have dealt with major relationship crisis, problems with the kids that run the gamut from Daredevil apparently taking the world's quota or slacker pills to Gollum losing his shit and pulling a butcher's knife on someone over a Nerf sword fight he lost. (Trust me, that isn't even half of it, just the least/greatest of the problems.) The neighbors wanted us to sell our place to their grandson for less than half of what we put into it less than a year ago. We refused, and so far they've called the park manager to try and get us evicted, filed a false police report, and sicced CPS on us. Oh, and managed to get The Talent's family involved- so we cut ties with them as best we could.

In the middle of this shitstorm, Gollum, who was already pissed at his stepdad for making him do chores and disciplining him, decided to get some of his own back and claim TT had bloodied his lip. End result- we have to go to court and prove that my habitually vindicative and untruthful Gollum is lying- and I'm under house arrest and not able to leave the children with TT (including his own 18month old son) alone. Which means I can't work.

And then he got laid off and cut from the union. Great...

The Talent was supposed to start with a new company today. Sat down and talked to the owner, hammered out all the details of pay and schooling. Reported for work this morning- and the guy who apparently holds the owner's balls informs TT that A) they aren't going to pay him XX, they're going to pay him X, and B) suddenly, TT has to pay for schooling. Fuck.

Fine, okay, go to the unemployment office to apply for the unemployment he should be getting for the past couple weeks and until he finds a new job. Sure, he can file a claim, but they're not going to pay him for the two weeks he's been off. So we're fucked there.

I'm honestly trying very, very hard to remain calm and positive, but as of right now, I want to say fuck it and stop fighting. I want to quit, give up everything and put a very large caliber bullet in a very small hole in my head. I'm the person who takes care of everyone and deals with all the shit that comes our way, and I'm tapped out. There's no one to help me pick up the slack, no one to even rub my back and tell me everything will work out. There's no respite or tapping out. I can't even have a good old-fashioned screaming me-me fit, because that might reflect badly on us with CPS.

I've followed everyone's advice, I've kept my head down and mouth shut, I've turned the other cheek, I've let go and let God, I've been understanding and supportive until my teeth ache. I called my MOTHER for advice (and those who know me know how desperate I was to do that) and got a guilt trip. My brother screamed at me. So did my spouse. Every time it's looked like there was a glimmer of light, it was just another fucking train, and I can't take anymore.

Right now, for the first time that I can remember, I don't want to be a mom. I don't want to be a wife. I don't want to be anything to anyone. I would honestly rather be dead than keep trying to fight the whole fucking world. For the first time, I don't have any will to fight- the world can win. Just remember- no funeral, cremated in a cardboard box immediately, toss that shit in the ocean and have a couple drinks and laughs around a bonfire for me.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Patio and Container gardens

I LOVE veggies. And fruit. And salad.

Luckily, I'm blessed with kids that love all this stuff too. What we haven't always been blessed with is the space to grow a decent-sized garden. Several years ago, I started doing container gardens, loaded with enough plants to produce either a full serving of veggies or a salad (or a fruit addition) for at least one meal a day for the whole growing season. It started as an experiment, and ended up being one of my favorite, and most successful, projects ever. All you have to do is follow a couple of really, really simple rules.

1) Start with the right tools- plants need food, sunlight and water to grow. Use the best soil and container possible. I use cow manure and half-casks (available cheaply at most Wal-Marts or gardening centers), since my containers are outside, mixed with perlite and some generic potting soil. All told, it might cost me about $4 a container to fill them up with a good blend. Most importantly- find the right spot. Ideally, you want somewhere with morning sun, but anywhere that gets good sun/light for at least 6 hours a day will usually produce plenty of goodies.

2) Only plant what you know you'll eat. If you hate peas, don't bother with them.

3) Plan a meal around your container. It's not hard. If you like spaghetti with salad on the side, plant an Italian garden with a heirloom tomato (Silver Palates, Old Man in The Sea, Black Krim, or any of the yellow/pink tomatoes), a green bell pepper plant, basil, rosemary, parsley, oregano, thyme, green bunch onions, lettuce and a bush-type cherry tomato. Yes, all that will fit in a container that fits into a 2x2 square space. I even tuck in nasturtium seeds.

That's it, that's all the rules. Now I'll explain how I plant these suckers, and why they work for me.

First, go get your pot. You can use something smaller than a half-cask sized pot if you like, and you can do as many pots as you can creatively arrange in your space. Make sure there's a good drainage hole. If not, you can dump some small landscaping rocks, broken chunks of brick, or whatever stone you have at hand in the bottom for a couple of inches to make a place for the water to escape to. Once you've handled drainage, fill your pot to within six inches of the top with your soil mixture.

Now you're ready for plants. For the fastest yield, you can start with seedling plants from a garden center. I do a mixture of seedlings and seeds, because certain plants I prefer to grow from seed, lettuce being one of the main ones. Remove your seedlings carefully from their nursery containers, keeping as much of the soil around the root ball as possible, unless they came in peat-pots that can be planted as they are. If you're growing plants that need supports, such as large-bush tomatoes, now is the time to go ahead and put your stakes in. Once that's done, you can arrange your plants in a classic container garden formation- tallest plants in the center, then fillers (such as herbs for an Italian-seasoning blend, edible flowers, lettuce), then spillers (thyme, vine plants such as squash, strawberries). This makes a classically attractive garden arrangement, and with the beautiful colors available in lettuce and other leafy greens, it can be as flamboyant as any flower bed. Give each seedling approximately 2.5" of space from it's neighbor. After planting the seedlings, fill in the soil around them to cover the nursery soil completely. Don't worry if you bury a bit of the stem- the plant will put out new roots along the buried part as it settles into its new home.

Alternatively, if you're a corner container person (which I am), you can arrange your plants with the tallest plants at the back (with an attractive stake or trellis arrangement against the backing walls), then mix in, your fillers, spillers, and even a few "pretties"- plants that have no purpose other than attracting bees and butterflies or adding fragrance to your patio. Fertilize well once every 10-14 days with a water-soluble all-purpose organic fertilizer.

Now, I've used my Italian dinner garden as an example throughout this post, but there are dozens of combinations available. Some of my favorites are:

Italian dinner- 1 large cooking tomato, 1 cherry tomato, 1 bell pepper, 1 basil, 1 oregano, 1 thyme, 1 rosemary, green bunching onions, 1 parsley, lettuce seeds (romaine, red and green leaf and butter are my favorites), nasturtium seeds. Plant seedlings, with stakes for the tomatoes and pepper plants. Cover the root balls with soil. Sprinkle lettuce seeds throughout the open areas, water well. (Lettuce may have to be resown periodically) Fertilize well once every 10-14 days with a water-soluble all-purpose organic fertilizer.

Super Salad- 1 yellow squash, 1 cucumber, chives, 1 cherry tomato, carrot seeds, lettuce seeds, radish seeds, dwarf sunflowers. Plant sunflowers and tomato as tallest point plants, cucumbers and squash as "spillers" (make sure they have ample room to the edge, and be prepared to prune them back if necessary). Sow carrot and radish seeds approximately 2 inches from edge of pot, harvest when young. Sow lettuce generously in open spots, harvest as baby lettuces, resow approximately every 2-3 weeks.

Fruity- 1 dwarf blueberry plant, 1 dwarf watermelon, strawberries, stevia. Plant blueberry bush closer to the edge/back. Plant watermelon approximately 4' from blueberry root ball, with a trellis. Train watermelon up the trellis as it grows. When fruit appears, "diaper" the young watermelons with cheesecloth or old pantyhose, allowing enough slack for fruit to develop without falling (this technique can be used with any fruiting vine, such as pumpkins, squash, cucumbers or eggplants) . Plant strawberries generously to the edge. Tuck a stevia plant or two into the pot to provide sweetness to any dish without sugar!

Herbs- Rosemary, oregano, thyme, sage, lemon balm, parsley, chives, garlic and other herbs can be planted in any size or shape container to provide an attractive and useful addition to any windowsill, patio or deck. NOTE: Always plant mint in its own container. It is voracious, and will take over any garden, container or yard it makes contact with.

As an added benefit- there are many beautiful flowers that have both culinary and pest control uses. I sprinkle marigold seeds in every container I make, and sunflowers are always a favorite, not just because they are so pretty, but because they provide delicious seeds that can be added to salads or eaten raw, roasted or baked into bread. A few minutes on Google can always tell you which of the edible flowers are best suited to your growing area.