Burning the Enchiladas 

Welcome to hollyhowley.com. I stare at my two week old blog. But it isn’t my blog. 
There is a friendly twenty-something Vannaesque woman motioning to a menu of plant options. I must have made a mistake, like when you type in Red Box instead of Red Sox. I try again.
And there she is, again. My blog is now a web site selling plants in Ireland. This time offering information on azaleas and peonies.
I go straight to Blogger to see what is happening. There she is again. Panic sets in. 
I search for a place on the Blogger web site to contact a person. To ask a question. To make a complaint. But when I click on “Need help?” what comes up is a series of commonly asked questions.
And not one of them says: What to do if Irish horticulturists take over your blog.
I am sure in this moment there are plenty of logical solutions, steps to remedy the situation. I opt for full throttle sobbing. It is working out fine until my husband walks in the room.
Surely he is expecting someone to have died or a dire diagnosis because he seems less than bowled over when I say, “My blog isn’t my blog anymore.” 
He stands before me in stunned silence. Clearly trying to wrap his head around me blubbering over a blog.
“I know it’s stupid but I worked all day and then answered a bunch of e-mails, made dinner and I had my new post ready, you’re supposed to change it every few days you know and tomorrow I am writing, nothing else but writing and even though a blog technically is writing, it’s not really. I want to finally finish my manuscript and I don’t have time for this tomorrow. So I was trying to get this done but now there’s an Irish woman on my blog.”
He takes out his little device and types the link in. He sees her too. “How do you know she’s Irish?” he asks.
Really that’s the takeaway question?
Thankfully he leaves the room leaving me to my pitiful rant. I pick up the phone and call my friend Nancy. The same friend who generously took time from her writing to help me start my blog. To get me to stop making excuses and just do it.
No answer. I leave a message, trying to sound casual. But through my faux casual tone, she detects my panic. The phone rings three minutes later.
“Oh, that is just awful,” she says. Thank you. An appropriate response. 
“But, Holly” she says, in a comforting parental tone, “I can see your blog just fine.” She reads the first line of my last post. 
“What, you can see it?” I say in disbelief.
“Try turning the computer off and starting it again.”
I turn the computer off, re-boot and hold my breath.
And there it is: WanderTime. My blog.
And there it is: the irony of this brave new world where a writer is expected to have a fully formed platform of “followers” and “friends” who “like” and “tweet” about them. Still, some solutions are infinitely low tech.
“Thanks Nancy,” I say.
“No problem, I was so upset when I got your call.”
“I kind of lost it.” I tell her about my sobbing. We have a good laugh.
“I get it,” she says, “you burned the enchiladas.”
“The what?”
“We have a saying in my family,” she explains.
Then Nancy tells me about her cousin, who, while going through a rough patch was keeping it all together...until...she burned the enchiladas. Something about seeing her charred dinner caused her to lose it. “My enchiladas!” was all she could say through her tears.
“We all burn the enchiladas sometimes,” Nancy says.
“Yes we do,” I say. 
And it helps to talk to an actual friend who really likes you. Someone who can suggest turning the computer off, before you turn it back on again.

Tending the Weeds

Tending the Weeds 
This morning I headed out into my weedy, unattended, “why aren’t the peppers growing?” garden. In past years I’ve been regimented about weeding, but not this year. I could give you my laundry list of excuses but suffice to say, I’ve slacked off.
So this morning I set out to right the ship. Where to start? 
I look to my precious tomatoes. Then to my single row of corn (a nostalgic nod to my Upstate NY roots). But the mirky tangled abyss otherwise known as the back of the garden is calling my name. 
For some reason only one of the watermelon plants took root, leaving a vast space with nothing but weeds sprouting little yellow flowers as far as the eye can see. I begin pulling, then pull some more. It feels good to clear it all out, get rid of the clutter. With each heave ho, I am ridding my world of weeds. 
“Mommmm! It’s ten,” Will calls out from the porch slider.
“Okay, thanks,” I say.
I’d asked my seven year old to let me know when the clock struck ten so that I’d have time to shower before we needed to pick his big brother up from camp.
How was it possible that I’d already been out in the garden for over an hour?
I again look to the tomatoes, corn, eggplants, cucumbers and marathon squash. I’d never gotten to them, my budding harvest. They were still a weedy tangled mess. 
I’d spent my time on the back of the garden. True it was the area that needed the most work. But no matter how much effort I gave it, there would be no harvest. Neat doesn’t grow produce.
I spent a few lingering minutes on the languishing peppers and the climbing cucumbers. But with my shower now in question, I packed up and headed inside.
This afternoon, after the weeding, camp pick up, pool time, and a trip to the grocery store, I sat down at my computer. To write.
Where to start? Manuscript revisions I’ve been mulling for some time? The quirky essay rattling around in my brain? Chapter 4 of the middle grade I am determined to finish? 
I should check my e-mails. I suddenly have a nagging feeling I am neglecting something, someone. I click on my inbox. A wave of multiplying new messages flood in. How did I let my e-mail get so out of control? I immediately start sorting the junk from the substance.
Then it hits me. The now neatly tended rows in the back of the garden, perfectly poised to...grow more weeds. I’ve been here before. I close my e-mail and return to the harvest. 
An essay about weeding my garden.