Monday, May 29, 2017

pink stuff

Hola, Thrillerati! Summer has begun and I never want to be anywhere but Rednecktopia once the weather warms up. Kayakers and fishermen are in the river. Wildflowers are everywhere, and I have finally had a few days to stay at home. I love it here in the summertime! Tourists are here. Hawk Mountain was covered with highly annoying bicyclists not sharing the road, and Sequoia would not believe that people actually come here for vacation.

"Seriously? Do they think economic decay is cute?"
"They think it is charming and relaxing."
"No, seriously? They must be from here."
"Look at the plates...Jersey, DC, New York..."
"Well, I'm going to Detroit for vacation."

It has been a super productive weekend, all though the vibe is rather subdued after the disasters of last week. I designed a logo and a website for my art, It is simple right now, but I wanted to have something before the art show next weekend. I also had a new business card printed, which is a surprisingly rewarding experience. I feel so OFFICIAL with a business card.
BAM! Doesn't that look fancy?

I found an ad on facebook with a picture of twenty different antique mirrors leaning against a wall. The ad said,"$5 bucks". Bob and I went to see what was going on there, and we found an old, abandoned Masonic Temple that had been renovated by this amazing family. Upstairs they have created a beautiful karate dojo, and downstair they have an apartment. The kids had swings set up in the Masonic Temple, and were riding scooters up and down the gigantic room. They said they had a whole basement full of stuff that came with the building. Bob, of course, went up to see the dojo, and I picked out three mirrors. I could have taken more, but I didn't want to be a hog! I love the ingenuity of this couple. I love it when people step outside of the box. They want me to come and do some art with them, and my fresh business card was hot in my pocket! Yeah, I'm child-like. I want to give the mailman and the meter reader my business card because it is shiny and new.
I said to the little boy,"Wow! This is cool! How many kids have a set up like this?" as he sped down a ramp and across the temple floor on his scooter.
"Nobody!" he said with a grin.

So, the thing about old mirrors is...they weigh 800 lbs. I had to fasten hardware and figure out how to get it on the wall, and you know practical knowledge. I hung the first mirror up last night and it is still on the wall today! Look at that sexy mirror. I wonder where it has been? To be honest, I have been throwing everything in the world in our bedroom and leaving it there to die. My old tattoo equipment. Broken pictures that I mean to reframe. Dirty clothes. Clean clothes. Childhood stuffed animals. Art supplies. Dust. Dog hair. I pulled every belonging out and went through EVERY SINGLE THING this weekend. I scrubbed the hell out of it, hung new pictures and moved the furniture around. Now it is all brand new!

I'm not totally delighted with the pictures, but you get the general idea. Sequoia put blush on the dog again. The light and angles and mirror in a bedroom make photos tricky, add in the animals...well, I guess I'm a photographic genius to have gotten anything at all. I'm really into PINK right now, which is hysterical because I have always detested that color. I just want things to be soft and cozy right now. It is probably the political situation of the world. Give me a safe, cozy place. I asked Bob his opinion about adding pink in the bedroom, and he said,"I'm secure enough in my masculinity not to worry about a pink pillowcase."

Love and light,
Your friend,

Thursday, May 25, 2017

5 Year Pin

Let's take a deep breath together. Ahhhhh. It is summer here in Rednecktopia, and although I had to drive to work behind a lifted truck with a confederidiot flag on the back, it is still GORGEOUS here. Green luscious life is blooming, giving, growing, and I live in a backpacking vacation destination. Summer here is so good.

Bob applied for a position that we all thought was going to be perfect and life changing, and then narrowly missed out on being hired at the last second. On the way home from the interview, someone hit his truck and damaged it considerably. I can understand totally why they went with another candidate, they were very gracious about it, but I don't understand why, cosmically, we would be presented with this AMAZING, TAILOR-MADE situation, only to be kicked in the balls, and actually WORSE off than if we had never applied. Don't get it. Does not compute. Is the lesson keep your head down and shut up? Don't write shit in my comments like,"Of course not! You tried and that is great!" because I don't want to hear it right now. No cheering up, please.

Maybe what I need to take away from this is to stop trying to escape my life, to get a new piece of paper and start clean. I am always trying to make up for the suck of ten years ago. Nevie is mad that I made her move so often, but we went from a tiny one bedroom apartment to a two bedroom apartment to renting a dilapidated house to owning a regular, three bedroom house. I'm always trying to make it better. I'm always trying to hustle. I've never been able to just roll into work, collect a secure check, and be at ease...enough money and peace of mind. NEVER.

Bob got a pin and a handshake for five years of work at the Orchard. Couldn't they slide a $25 gift certificate, or something? I know the parent corporation has a box of those pins in a closet in the human resources department somewhere, that they bought in 1974 and are still dipping into, but the parent corporation does not know what it is like to live on the wages that they pay. And when we try to do better....ugh.


Fuck your pin.

I've got tons of good stuff, a good marriage, a good family, a good house and good cars when they aren't totalled. I am capable, healthy and compassionate.  I guess I hold a false belief that I AM going to have that regular-check, middle-class-comfort kind of situation that both of our parents enjoyed, and not be always robbing Peter to pay Paul. The kind of situation where one can NOT get their furniture off of Craigslist, or the kind of situation where one can PLAN A FAMILY VACATION (just a car one, not a plane one).

I escaped a sociopath who wanted to take my children.

I beat suicidal depression.

I raised two girls who are capable, healthy and compassionate, AND politically left-leaning.

I've maintained my relationship for over ten years.

I (with a ton of help from family, okay, mostly family but a little bit me) moved us up from a one bedroom apartment to a three bedroom house.

Maybe my next task is to get money straightened out. Was trying to do that. Didn't work out how I liked this time. Will keep trying.

Love and light,
Your friend,

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Just Weather

I have been chugging along on the deliriously happy train, and then SMACK! A derailment, train cars strewn all over the landscape, smoke and screaming! I guess I am figuring out that my emotions don't really belong to me, or make much sense at all, they are just weather. Sometimes I'm sunny and sometimes I feel so uncomfortable in my clothes, my hair, my skin, and all I want is to sleep...a fucking blizzard of negativity. Nightmares, again. I get a thought like,"God, I am so tired of being me," and it repeats, repeats, repeats. I don't know what happened? Am I physically sick? Is it hashimotos? Is it burn out? Is it fear? Is it thyroid or hormones? Really, am I a person or a sack of chemicals causing me to act like an idiot? I have whiplash from the ridiculousness of my emotional states. I fantasize about how to get out of everything that I am supposed to do. I want to stay home.

My beloved by our campfire
I'm leaning towards maybe burn out. I have been keeping SO much in my brain. I still have a fricking awesome life and I am generally happy, I just have a wire loose or something...#noshit. The art festival was pretty great, and on Sunday, Bob and I had our first campfire. I stayed in a chair by the fire for five hours, I was so perfectly content, but that also made me think maybe something was up, because one should probably move a little. I guess it doesn't need to be analyzed, because the point is, I have no control. It is just weather, coming in and moving out. 
My nightmare was about electroshock therapy, if you want to know how warm-fuzzy my subconscious is. Also weather, coming in and moving out. 

Not permanent. Not a reflection of actual shittiness in my life. 

My body hurts. I feel tired. 

Love and light,
Your friend,

Sunday, May 21, 2017


from left:Sequoia, Rissa, Katelin, and Ashley

I've started writing a few times and deleted it because my writing reads like an industrial manual these days. My brain is full to bursting and my thoughts come out as short, dull, declarative sentences, dry as toast. EVERYTHING IS HAPPENING. EVERYTHING HAS TO BE HANDLED. EVERYTHING IS URGENT. I feel like I have changed into an entirely different person this year. My inner heart and mind are totally new. I feel like I'm going through some sort of puberty or something.

Yesterday was the Art Fest, and I ran the Block of Art this year. This is where, for a $3 donation to the Hamburg Area Arts Alliance, the kids get to paint inside a little square on the street. It was rainy and cold, but I had lots of volunteers to help me, so nothing was too difficult. I just ADORE the little kids. Each one is magnificent. The adults flap and fret and get upset over the silliest things, I just have to laugh at them. "Oh! I'm so MAD because a vendor is in the wrong spot! Oh, huff and puff!" Adults these days are just so absorbed in bullshit. They find the most ridiculous things important. I'm really tired of them. I only want to be around young people.

Sequoia ran the community mural and played the ukulele.

I spent an hour sitting on the curb, talking very seriously with Rissa's dad. When was the last time I sat on a curb, talking? Probably not since my Lark St days, as a teenager. Rissa's mom left. Everyone has lawyered up. It is very sad. I love everyone involved.

Two weeks until my little art show. I plan to spend a good amount of time painting today. A lady at the art festival said she would buy christmas cards of my church painting, so I've got to remember to have those made. I've got a website to do that. I am also teaching a four part comic book art class at the library this June, and yesterday the local movie theater lady approached me to do three "Movie and Craft Project" programs over the summer. I get to pick the movie! Look at me now, USC Film School! This little street fair is becoming a hub for professional networking, it seems. What are the most amazing kids movies ever? I know what I like is probably not going to attract The Last Unicorn! And make a unicorn horn! That would be cool, but kids probably want what is popular right now...Trolls? I haven't seen that. I should check it. Hiyao Miazaki....yes please! Totoro? Ponyo? or NEVER ENDING STORY?! Ghostbusters? Eighties movies were just better.

I am going to have to start being more selective with the projects that I accept, because things are so crazy. Right now, I am just accepting every offer...babysitting, selling pears, pear events, art classes, commissions, whatever...the answer is always YES! I am going to have to steer my ship a little bit more, but I don't know how. I'm a little afraid to turn anyone down, but I'm going to have to have some order if I don't want my brain to explode.

I am thinking that I might edit out selling pears, which is regular money, but dull.  I like doing the work, but the company puts me in a storage room and pays me shit. But, it is regular money! You see? How do you cut stuff? I've got to be the captain, though. I can't let my life trample over me.

See? I'm boring. Sorry.

Love and light,
Your friend,

Monday, May 15, 2017

Over the Moon

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Happy Mother's Day, one and all! What a emotional day for love your mother, you lost your mother, you hate your mother, you love your kids, you lost your kid, you hate your kids, you wanted kids, you never had kids, you never had a mother...oy! But peace and love to everyone, regardless.

I just wrote a big, long blog, and erased it because my thoughts are so all over the place! The speed of my life has just been put on 100mph lately, and I am just RACING through! When I try to explain it, it comes out in these dry, declarative sentences...we went here, we saw this, we did this, dry as toast.

 A distant relative passed away at the age of 94, and I went with my mom to the funeral in Virginia on Saturday. My house is half way between NY (where my mom lives) and Virginia (where her relations live) so it worked out that she could stay here Friday and Saturday night. I love visiting my southern family, they are all so warm, earthy, and unpretentious. Even though I didn't grow up with them, I can see the nature-loving vein go through the generations. My mom says she wants to be an old lady now, but still insists on doing all the driving and paying for everything, no matter what. She is always racing to beat a clock. People think that I am a force to be reckoned with, but I'm nothing compared to my Mom.

I was so lucky this year to have so much family around for Mother's Day. Nevie was at school, but let a beautiful gift and card for me last week when she was here. Very special! <3 Sequoia was racing around doing her own agenda, too, schedule-schedule-schedule, but we got to see her at last on Sunday. Rissa was here for dinner on Friday, and Aspen called and wrote a lovely message to me on Facebook from Utah. A fb friend who I don't know very well sent me a message saying that I "am an inspiration not only to my own children, but to the children of the community," and that just sent me OVER THE MOON!

I made the mistake of saying,"lets go to the driving range sometime," when I really didn't want to go to the driving range, ever, but yesterday, Bob's dad brought us all to the driving range at the golf course where he works. I am like...worse at golf than I really should be. My arms don't want to go that way! Sequoia did a really good job, though. It was nice that we did something nice together with Bob's dad, we really never go anywhere together, and we should.

I took the morning off of babysitting to just (((breathe))). I've had two migraines this week, and I know my hashi's is just rumbling under the surface. A few breakouts, a few aches and pains, a little pressure in the ear, stiffness in my hands...stuff you might generally overlook, I now know are the small tremors before the earthquake. Too many "grabbed" meals, too little exercise...although I did spend six hours working at the pear farm moving and organizing an apartment full of event and marketing supplies this week...boxes of brochures, rolls of posters, dozens of wine glasses, platters and serving supplies, coolers, linens, boxes, mailers, wrapping paper and bags. That made me break a sweat. Sometimes "farm work" isn't what you would imagine it to be.

I am debating whether to go shopping, which would accomplish something, or just go to the lake, where I want to go. It is sunny and cool.

Love and light,
Your friend,

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

A Different Caterpillar

I feel like an entirely new, different person. I have changed in my soul, from a caterpillar to...a different caterpillar! The post traumatic stress that has tortured me since age 16, about, are gone. I'm writing it down...I was afraid to say it, but really...GONE. I DO NOT FEEL AGONY IN MY CHEST, I DO NOT FEEL DEPRESSED, I DO NOT FEEL SAD. What the fuck happened? It is a miracle. A GOD DAMNED MIRACLE!!!! A dance-in-the-street-screaming-crying M.I.R.A.C.L.E.!!!!!

I feel like I'm bragging when I talk about how happy I feel. FUCKING. HAPPY...that's how I feel. My family are giving me that slow blink all the time...a look of disbelief, because they have never seen me happy. I mean, in ten years, was I ever happy apart from on my honeymoon? I wake up cheerful. I go about my day with energy and a smile. I sing! When my mind wanders, instead of painful memories, or crippling worries, I drift into a list of gratitudes. I know, it is nauseating to read about another person's bliss. I just can't believe the difference of how the inside of my head is working...from a violent, post-apocolyptic Frank Miller reality, to like...My Little Pony world.

I'm unmedicated. I'm going easier on the gluten and the sugar, but not cold-turkey. When I start to feel shitty, I drink tumeric in water, and/or tart cherry juice for their anti-inflammatory properties, and I rest. What changed, really, is a belief that the world is my toybox. That everything I need is doable and available. That I know that I have something to give to people and situations. That everything is my friend. I don't think that I could have forced that belief earlier, but it is here now.

I used to feel like everything existed apart from me, and I made no difference. I don't think I knew that was my belief, but I know in hindsight now. I felt separated and like I had nothing to add. Now I want to paint, and I want to teach my art classes, and I want to go to things, and I want to feel good feelings! Metaphysically, I am really IN the belief that I am everything and everything is me...and it is making me high.

We are not separate. Everything exists only in our observation. Without an observer, there is no reality. That means, really, everything is mine. Suddenly, I really feel like everything is mine. Really...what is it? My happiness, maybe, comes from a sudden belief in the kindness of the reality of my own creation. That if this happens, or that happens, both would be great. I am in a constant state, right now, of...if this happens, or that happens, both would be great. If I live, or I die, both would be great. If I win, or if I lose, both would be great. If we are rich, or we are poor, both would be great. If Nevie is the world's leading forensic scientist with 87 degrees, or drops out, both would be great...because of that belief in the fundamental kindness of life.

Yeah, spiritual gobbledy gook, right? Sequoia went to her band championship, and won first place, because that is the way things are going right now, and Nevie came home for the weekend because she is stressed about school. I brought her around the dear, poor Skook, and we went to the Laundromat. I had to wash my comforter in a big washer, even though we have a small washer at home. Next to the laundromat is a Goodwill, and Nevie had a whiz-bang shopping trip and found lots of good stuff for $26. We went to the inexpensive grocery store, Aldi's, too. Just regular, low income stuff..and that reinforced what I THINK is what is making me happy. Yes, you can go get a shit-ton of education and vacation in Fiji, and that's awesome, but you can also live in the Skook and drive a 15 year old car, and go to the laundromat and Goodwill, and be happy. Both would be great. The driven, smart, rich kids at the Academy, or probably ANY academy, are just ON FIRE not to be a failure and end up in a place like The Skook. That FEAR robs them of any kind of life. You are rich, but your life is just one big HAVE TO BE THE BEST HAVE TO BE THE THINNEST HAVE TO BE THE SMARTEST HAVE TO BE THE WINNER...all day. Erry' day. That's slavery, even if you are on vacation on Fiji.

BUT, if you are at the Academy, and enjoying the benefit of being in a beautiful school, with great food, and interesting classes, and fun sports, etc etc...and not in HELL with the pressures, you can have a great can be free. Just as I can live in the Skook, where jobs and education are rare, shop in places for poor people, play with my muddy rescue dogs, and be entirely rich. It comes from your own heart.

Suddenly delighted to be alive,
Love and light,
Your friend,

Friday, April 28, 2017

Nuts and Bolts

I don't think my life has ever been better. I am trying to keep my heart in gratitude, and remember what it was like to sleep in a welfare hotel, alone with toddlers, but everything is just coming at me so fast it is hard to grab any sort of perspective. Everything is in demand, everyone wants me to do something, give me something, take me somewhere, teach me something. If I try to explain, it doesn't even make sense.

You see....
πŸ’—I have a babysitting job every morning, putting kids on the bus at 6:45 am, and extra for dentist appointments, when the kids are sick, and vacation days.

πŸ’—I have a part-time job selling Asian Pears to health food stores, cheese shops, high end restaurants and inns, etc.

πŸ’— I am also travelling from time to time to pear events...festivals, galas, wine tastings, etc.

πŸ’—I have recently started a teen collaborative art organization.

πŸ’—I am preparing for an Art Show in June...I am one of many on the event, but it is the FIRST time I have EVER shown art. At all. In any context.

πŸ’—I joined a little local Artists guild, which gives me a lot of additional opportunities.

πŸ’—I have three dogs, but it feels like 27 because I have a pitbull puppy...oy.

πŸ’—I'm custom painting shoes, and selling my paintings, marketing on social media.
πŸ’—Nevie is doing great a boarding school, and I am going back and forth there. She has become very serious about being a classical soprano and is getting ready to go to Costa Rica this summer on a biology trip.

πŸ’—Sequoia is in public school at home, and active in marching band and the drama clubs, and serious in her veganism, and is kind of amazing at fashion, design and makeup.

πŸ’—I have a hundred year old, three bedroom house that is in continual need and constantly filthy.

πŸ’—And, vital to all the other parts, I'm Bob's wife, and shockingly, we are getting along better than we have in ten years. got bored even reading the list of all that I do! It is too much to list, and it is all happening, it is all booming, it is all good, and I am just running.

So many years lost to depression and sickness, and now....I'm off like a motherfucking ROCKET!

Ten thousand million bazillion things are better than they once were, but when I catch a glimpse of myself in a reflection, I still look a mess. A fucking mess! Who wants to worry about diet, exercise, what one is wearing, what one's hair is doing....fingernails?!....when there is stuff to DO. I'm damn near 40, it looks like I might have grown up to be a person who just looks a mess, and I should embrace it. OR I could start worrying about the aforementioned, which doesn't seem like an attractive option either. It does bother me, though. I would like to look nice, once. I never feel like I look nice, but when I spend time or money on anything having to do with how I look, I resent it and I think the time and money should have been better spent elsewhere. Sigh. I wish I looked as good as I feel, but I don't feel rich enough in the time, energy or money it would take. Or, when I try, I feel so awkward, like putting lipstick on a moose. I think my next goal is to forgive myself for spending/prioritizing just a LITTLE on how I look.

I am also getting an itch to get rid of stuff. I am always getting rid of stuff, I am not a saver, but everywhere I look is stuff that is just...stuff, that I am always dusting, picking up, cleaning, organizing, and is just a GIGANTIC waste of my time. I don't think I can have a garage sale here. I don't have the right stuff. People garage sale here for machines and equipment, and I have stuff no one and books and stuff. Maybe I could have something like a party/garage sale...friends could come and take home some things. I wish I could take the whole house and shake it, and rinse it with a hose. Bob and I are always at odds on this. He likes to have a big moldy, pirate horde. I would like to have a backpack of the best, perfectly efficient, stuff.

 I know so many people with such beautiful homes, and it recently has been blowing my mind just how much time and energy it takes to have that. Yard work? I don't want to. I could scrub the dust and dog hair off of the stairs, or I could paint. You guess which one I'm going to choose. At least until this show is over.

I don't know if this is worth publishing, just boring nuts and bolts. But that is where my mind is right now.

In tremendous gratitude for my recent good fortune...
love and light,
Your friend,