post-OCD-bed-ridden apartment garden rollcall

First of all: you need to feel today’s vibes to fully enjoy this blog post. So put on my playlist.

Or, note: If you’re feeling a little down and lonely as we roll into a warm weekend, and you’re prepared to just lean into it and go on long walks/runs and craft like I am, here’s another playlist suggestion for ya!

The Plants (there are lots of updates!)

Okay! Let’s take a rollcall of all the plants currently in the house.

  1. Adora, the parlor palm
  2. Celeste, my [giant now!] celery plant
  3. Simeon the totem pole cactus
  4. Echeveria (which is blooming again!)
  5. Unknown species of blobby cactus
  6. Rattlesnake plant (calathea rufibarba)
  7. Moon orchid
  8. Peperomia
  9. A maidenhair fern who is barely holding on for dear life
  10. Watermelon peperomia (yes, two peperomias, I didn’t make a mistake)
  11. A second cultivar of calathea (currently has some mold, which I’m treating with neem oil)
  12. 3 basils
  13. Carrots
  14. Ponytail palm
  15. Baby jade propagate
  16. 2 African Violets (that’s right, I got another one!)
  17. Catnip, barely
  18. Moss, also barely
  19. Chinese money plant, a.k.a. Friendship Plant which is what I prefer to call it
  20. 5 spider plants (several were murdered by my cat but a few of the 5 also have new spiderettes, so soon there shall be more individuals!)

All together, counting multiples, that’s 27 plants in this lil’ urban garden. And about the ones that say “mostly” – those plants aren’t doing so hot right now. Most of my plants are happy and healthy (other than those my cat murdered) but a few are struggling. I actually planted a new baby celery a few months ago and it was doing well for a time, but it’s gone now. I overwatered it. That’s right, I somehow overwatered celery. I suspect the issue may have been exacerbated because of weather changes: we’ve been getting swinging temperatures here. It was super warm, I added what was probably a bit too much water to the youthful celery, the temperature dropped to freezing, aaaand that was that. I tried to save it but was unable.

Come with me on a Plant Care Day

This first one isn’t exactly “plant care,” but I thought it was interesting! I got roses for Valentine’s Day but didn’t want them to go to waste, and there’s quite a bit you can use rose petals for! So once they were all dried and tuckered out I hung the best-shaped ones and made some decor out of them (think: the floral swag item from Animal Crossing). I also saved as many dried petals as I could; theoretically these could be used to make rosewater but I’m concerned about what pesticides and whatnot might’ve been used on commercial flowers. I’ll have to look into that more.

The basics of plant care days are observation, watering, and treating. During the winter these are less frequent, except for the observation part; I always try and keep a good eye on the plants.

Although some plants it’s said shouldn’t be fertilized in winter, I’ve been finding that my celery shoots through the roof with joy if fertilized about once a week – no more than that, sometimes less. Look at all that growth! I always use Joyful Dirt fertilizer for my houseplants.

Now, my basils are alive but janky-looking. I read recently that pruning basil plants a certain way makes them bushier, and gosh mine could sure use whatever help they can get. This is the video I watched and how I’ll be pruning my basil from now on:

from Epic Gardening

Plant-related Crafting

And finally, what I’m most excited about recently – crafts, crafts crafts! Spring crafts!

I’m making a stick wreath for my front door, so I went out to the park and collected sticks along one of my favorite trails. Peep my amazing Columbia hiking boots, which have survived both the Amazon Rainforest and Pittsburgh puddles.

Here’s the wreath so far: I’ve used hemp string from my local art store to tie the sticks together and some hot glue to secure the string. Now, to make that circular shape I was lucky enough to find some pre-bent sticks but I also used the flexibility of wood to bend the final stick (the longest one you see there) into place. I gently maneuvered the wreath into the shape I wanted it once everything was tied together and then used my laptop and some heavy candles to ‘press’ that shape/hold it still. I left it like that for almost 24 hours, and voila! a rounded wreath. Next steps are to add some finishing touches, namely some hemp string details, make a loop at the top (the knobby part; isn’t nature wonderful! Mother Nature is the queen crafter) so that it can hang peaceably at my door. I imagine coming home and seeing my handiwork every day will bring me an extra ounce of joy on top of the ounces of joy spring itself brings!

The OCD Thing

Ah, so about the title. The OCD I deal with has been rough for more than a month now for personal reasons I don’t have the desire to share; let’s just say my germaphobia has reached levels much like those of it’s peak when I was a kid. But I’ve finally found a therapist, and I really like her and feel supported so far (thank you, NOCD app! I’d recommend this for all my OCD babes out there).

I know, I know, we’ve all heard the words “mental health” every waking moment for the past six years or so now. But I want to talk about mental health for a sec, specifically relating to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. I know that OCD often gets used as an adjective, as something we all “hAvE a LiTtLe bIt oF,” as something that means if the curtain rod isn’t at an exact 180-degree angle we go into the full Avatar State. Now, I also know that “OCD is an illness, not an adjective” is a big push, and I know that I get annoyed when people who didn’t cry every day before school or pass out from panic attacks as a kid make light of OCD not knowing what they’re talking about. But I also know I don’t want to be gatekeepy about mental health. That’s not to say I don’t take my diagnosis and my care seriously; OCD has had a real and traumatizing impact on my life and I want to be able to better manage it so that I can be the me I want to be. However I think there are coping mechanisms for OCD that actually would help a lot of people without the disorder, and I think there are some things about having OCD that make me unique in ways I wouldn’t want to change. And I don’t think having a diagnosis of any sort is about playing the Trauma Olympics. Yes, OCD has given me trauma and yes, plenty of others have plenty of other kinds of trauma. Those things are important to recognize and to work through. I just don’t want to play this game of “who has the worst trauma” anymore. I don’t want to be pitted against anyone else or anyone else to be pitted against me. I speak about my own mental health stuff because I hope that someone else out there with nasty OCD realizes that they, of course, deserve to be their best, happiest, healthiest self, not because I want everyone to look at my trauma and think anything of it.

And with that diatribe, I leave you to more silly subjects.

Things I Learned Recently That No One Asked to Hear About

Okay, first – I’m not vegan but sometimes I just cannot stomach eggs. I make a vegetarian version of the Italian breaded chicken that my mom makes using sliced firm tofu instead, but usually to get the breadcrumbs to stick I wash the tofu slices in egg first. I didn’t want to waste money on eggs since I won’t eat them all, and I discovered that something else actually works to get the crumb to stick – dry out the tofu, then toss them in flour, then put them in a room-temp olive oil bath, then toss in breadcrumbs! And then bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees, flip and bake another ~10 minutes.

And second – Cantu cream actually works pretty well on my hair, BUT: when I finger-comb it through my curls get stringy. But I have to comb it, because otherwise my head is just one big knot. If I spritz and scrunch after my hair’s dry with homemade saltwater spray, though, it looks better!

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