Skull ART!

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I literally have the best vision for these skulls! Please check out my Gofundme and consider donating? It would mean the world to me!

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Arizona Green Tea Bedroom

My daughter wanted her room painted differently. We moved in about 5 years ago and I painstakingly painted each kids room exactly how they wanted. They are really cool rooms! But she was in the third grade then, and now she’s 13 in the eighth. Even I have to admit the room was too young and princessy for her. Jazz's Old Room

But, for the past three years, I had a crappier paying job than I had when we moved in and I couldn’t afford our bills, let alone to re-do her room. But now I have the best job ever, and I have more time and money to do things, so I asked her how she wanted her room done. All I could say to her response was:

Not ImpressedReally?

 

Arizona Green Tea. That. Was her answer.

And so it began.

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And the finale!!! At least for the mural part…

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As if that wasn’t enough, we decided that the carpet in her room needs to go! So we did this!

 

This is some serious girl power! Tomorrow we lay down the laminate and we will feel like the baddest bitches in town! Please hit me up if you want to commission a mural of your own! Maybe a giant Sun Rise Sushi Logo or your favorite sports team logo in the living room! Er, uhhh, I mean the man cave?  Go to my Murals page for pricing. Updates on the floor soon to come!

Broken Chrysalis

I woke up this morning…different. Consciousness rose to the surface somewhere around 4am-ish. I don’t know because I didn’t reach for my phone, for once. Oh, all the familiar aches and pains were still there. So many days of being bent over the bench, using my hands as tiny vices, pushing down prongs, sawing, torching, searching for that thing I just had in my hand, eyes always in the microscope, everything pushing toward the center and never having my chest and arms opened up. I can feel it every morning when I wake up on my stomach with my arms out under my pillow. My hands and arms involuntarily push into the bed and my back burns all the way down the middle, my spine clearly out of alignment, muscles tight, hands clenched, throbbing and aching. But, today, even with the aches and pains, was…different. My head wasn’t so heavy. I didn’t feel dread for the day or the future or the heaviness of life’s burdens. I felt, maybe not energized physically, but certainly a new kind of energy, positive energy and the absence of negativity. I was actually able to pull my body out of bed at 5:45. No, it was better than that. I couldn’t KEEP my body in bed, when, for the past…at least three years I have had to willfully and grudgingly drag myself out of sleep wishing I never had to wake up again.

cocoon

It occurs to me that I’ve been in a very dark, confined space, not free to move at all, or to see or to feel. Nothing about my surroundings or situation has changed drastically…yet. But this morning, I felt like the cocoon is beginning to give. No wings are out, they are still bound, my legs still can only barely wiggle, but my antennae are out, feeling around, tasting the air, proboscis unwinding, ready to partake of life’s nectar, and my eyes are almost uncovered. I can almost see my way out of confinement. Every day I will wiggle a bit more, search a bit more, seek a bit more, till my bonds break free. I want to fly.

I won’t think about darkness anymore. I will push those thoughts from me and concentrate on the light. I will keep dark people at arms length and seek out the people who’s light is contagious. I will let their flame ignite my own. Then, when I’m a full fiery blaze, and those who’s lights have gone dim are drawn to mine, I will use my light to ignite theirs. I will learn a new way of thinking, a new way of speaking, a new way of existing. I will free myself. I will move my body, wake with the sun, and consume only that which will heal and nurture. I will grow strong. Someday very soon, I will love myself again.

The Story of How I Wish it Was…(WIP)

I’m wrapped up snug and warm under the heavy patchwork quilt I made out of all our old jeans with only my face sticking out. Every muscle in my body aches delightfully with the memory of yesterday’s work, and my nose is chilly. I breathe deep, taking in the cool fresh pine air and gaze up out of the skylight at the morning sun shining through the boughs of towering pines. We put skylights in every bedroom and keep the windows in the lofts open day and night, save for the winter months, so that our bodies are apt to rise and set with the sun. The little house sways ever so slightly with the trees it’s built in as the breeze moves through them. It is JOY to wake up! I roll over and gather my robe from the wood plank floor and slip into my house shoes, breathing deeply again. I run my hand over the bark of the thick strong pine that runs up through the center of our little house as I descend the spiral stairs we built around it.

“Good Morning Gia. I love you.” I whisper to her. Yes, I name my trees, and I do love them!
Santini has already started the fire in the woodstove and set the French press on it to warm. I pour myself a cup with a little goats milk and honey, pack a tiny little bowl of fresh herb from the cute little glazed clay pot we picked up at the festival last year. It’s a stoner frog. I open the French doors onto the deck and breathe again. The Stellar Jays are shrieking at each other, the Cheeseburger birds calling to one another, the rooster crows, the hens cluck, the goats bay, the ducks quack, the stream gurgles, the house sways and I am happy. Happier than I have ever been in my life! I know the animals are hungry, but I take my time in the morning. I sit at the little table on the deck 30 feet off the forest floor, looking out at the clearing we’ve made. The hen house and run, the goat barn, the high fenced garden with the hoop houses still covering ten raised beds, the wild native plants with edible, defensive and medicinal uses we purposely encourage to grow around our property, at the two workshops and the storage shed, the cute little outhouse (we also have a composting toilet in the treehouse,) but mostly, I gaze up at the trees and the sky and the little creek. I greet them as I sip my coffee and smoke my bowl.
When I am done, feeling awake, aware and irie, I drop my mat and do a few quick yoga poses and stretches, telling God how much I love Him/Her for allowing me to be here. I go inside, open the trap door to the storage area under the floor, scoop out a bucket full of chicken feed and the smaller bucket of last night’s table scraps off the counter, and slip on my mud boots. Sant already lowered the upper stairs, by the pully we’ve rigged, down onto the landing of the lower stairs. We didn’t want bears climbing into our windows stealing food, or raccoons, or even unwelcome animals of the two legged variety, so every night after chores, we pull up the stairs, Lock the doors, and close the lower level shutters, keeping the loft windows open to the air.
The short walk down to the coop and goathouse is pleasant, no, it’s utterly joyous! The brown of the dirt path, the grey of the rocks sticking up through it, the lighter grey brown of the gnarly roots crossing the path. I love the crunch under my feet, the irregularity of it, the beauty of it, seeing the progress of the green things surrounding it, hearing the trees whisper to each other, to me.
“Good morning Ladies!” I sing! “Who’s ready for BREAKFAST???” they all come to the gate, clucking excitedly. I greet them all by name as I fill their feeders. Give them water, decide if their house needs a cleaning and check the boxes for eggs, which I put carefully in the empty feed bucket. On to the goats! We have four. Two mommas and two babies! Up the ladder to the hay loft and push down a few flakes. Their house doesn’t need cleaning till tomorrow either. Fill the water and watch to see how the babies are getting along. All is well on the little treehouse farmstead! Santini is in the workshop changing oil and checking levels in all the vehicles. I hear him tinkering and I hear his radio. Zave is up, always the morning person!
“Mom! Mom! MOM! Can I milk the momma goat?”
“Yes Boy, but do you remember what you were told about washing your hands and all the things you need to check for and do before and while you’re milking?” He lists them off and I remind him of one he forgot. We went to a friend’s farm a few months ago to learn how to take care of our momma milk goats. The boy pays attention and takes this life seriously, but has incredible amounts of fun doing it. Jazz is coming down the stairs all bleary eyed and asks how the babies are and if I got eggs.
“They seem good, you are better at knowing than me. Why don’t you go visit? Zave is milking Ganja, why don’t you milk Mary while I go get some green stuff from the garden to make omelets out of these eggs? I’ll call you when breakfast is ready. DON’T SPILL THE MILK!”
She is ridiculously happy out here. I am SO happy. I think as I duck into the first hoop house. She thought she’d hate it, that she’d be afraid, and she is from time to time, but not about bears and scary things at night in our house. She knows she’s safe there, but she fears for our critters. She’s definitely an animal whisperer. She adores them. We are going to have to kill some chickens soon. We can’t afford to keep buying our meat. I’m scared she’ll hate me then. I’ve warned her, and I told her we won’t name those ones. I hope she can handle that. I hope I can handle that!!!
Back upstairs, I kick off my boots by our tiny halltree, set the eggs, a zucchini, a couple tomatoes, an onion and a generous handful of spinach down on the counter, wash my hands, pour myself another cup of coffee, take another hit and get to work on two big ol’ omelets! I’m learning how to make cheese from our goat milk, and we don’t have pigs yet. Dreaming of the days when we can have homemade cheese in our omelets and serve them with bacon! Pre-packaged cheese for now and we can do without bacon for a while. We are really doing this! We are learning and working HARD and having more fun doing it than anyone knew we would. Well, I knew we would. No, I knew I would, I HOPED everyone else would.
I hear the whirr of the stationary bike upstairs.
“If you are on that bike you better have a load of laundry in the tub, or milk in the butter churn!!!” I yell up to Jahmila, who is still the last to rise even out here. Still, 7am is WAY better than 2 in the afternoon!
“Uuugh. It takes so LONG to fill it up!”
“I’m gonna take that phone away!”
“Fine.”
The stationary bike is the best thing we’ve rigged out here. It can do a small load of laundry, or churn a vat of butter depending on which one you hook the gear to, and it powers electronic devices, which is why Jahmila is always trying to ride it empty. I’m proud of myself for being on her butt pretty consistent though. She’s been doing a LOT of laundry, and we are never without butter! LOL!
I hear her patter around up in the lofts gathering a load, and then turning on the hose we’ve rigged upstairs to fill the washtub. It’s harder to pedal the bike when the tub is full of water. We’ve all gotten so incredibly STRONG since we got here! It feels good, and the girls are looking like a couple of brick houses! I hear Michael Jackson after a few minutes of her pedaling. Cool to have music out here in the middle of nowhere off grid!
“Breakfast is close Padjums, you should drain and rinse now!” I yell up to her.
“OK.” And I hear her stop and connect the other hose we have rigged to empty out into the garden drip system, then hook up the water one to fill the tub with fresh water, a couple more minutes ride and she drains again, fills, rides and drains one more time. We make our own laundry, dish and body soap out of stuff that won’t hurt our vegies. All our grey water goes to the garden.
“I’ll help you ring after we eat. Go get everyone for breakfast K?”
“K Euma! I love you!! She runs downstairs, also touching Gia’s bark all the way down. She hugs me super tight, uuugh she’s so stinky! LOL! She eats fresh onions and garlic raw from the garden and it makes her ripe! But I love her to pieces! I’ll send them all down to the creek with soap later. She stands on the deck and yells.
“Breeeeeakfaaast!!!!” and I hear Jazz and Zave tell her to help them pull up their buckets of milk. I can see them in my mind struggling up the path with their buckets. They hook them to one of the pully hooks and Jahj pulls them up one at a time. I can hear the littles (who aren’t so little anymore) tromping up the stairs in their mud boots.
“Is Daddy coming?” I ask, and add, “BOOTS OFF!”
“He’s in the shop still.”
“Well did he hear that breakfast is ready?”
“I don’t know, his radio is on.”
“Well GO down there and GET him.” I tell them.
Jahj rolls her eyes, “Ugh, Jazz you go get him.” Jazz glares at her.
“I WILL!” Zave offers and runs out and down the stairs, down the path and into the shop. I make the girls help me set the table.
Yea, we are actually setting our table together! We aren’t all yelling at each other irritated and rushed to get out the door to go places we don’t want to go and do things we don’t want to do. OK, so I don’t really WANT to ring out the clothes, but I gotta tell ya, I DO love seeing them all hung up on the metal railings of the loft. It feels like freedom to me. It’ll take like five minutes and then I’ll do a load and charge MY phone. Then I’ll have Zave and Jazz do some butter and another load. We keep the clothing to a minimum, but dang, laundry never ends! I still have to take some of the milk and start yogurt, make bread for the week, take down the hoop houses, clean out the leaves and crap from between the garden beds and put it all in the newest compost heap, set up the moveable chicken run between the rows, clean the pantry and take stock of what we have left, check the beehives, decide what’s for lunch and dinner, make sure the kids are doing their school work… It really never ends, but we are together at home, sustaining ourselves as much as possible and getting better at it with each passing day.
Sant and Zave are coming up the stairs as I dish out the omelets, toast, tall mugs of fresh milk, yogurt, and applesauce from the pantry. Zave is excitedly telling him about how he milked the goat and got a HUGE bucket full and how cute the little goats are.
“Good job Dude. Keep it up! WOW! Look at Mommy killin’ it!” he says looking at the table.
“How are things?” I say, “Cars good? Thanks for starting the fire and coffee.”
“Yup. Their ok. Truck’s gonna need an air filter and we should change the timing belt in the Subaru soon. Quad’s good.”
“Oh good, cuz I gotta take the hoop houses down today. We need to make sure the fence around the property is still good. I don’t want those damn deer and elk in my garden!”
“They can’t get past the fence around the garden can they?”
“I want multiple defenses! Plus it’s time to make sure the brush is cleared by the road. Defensible space time.”
We ride around the property about once a month from early spring to late fall to make sure the fences are good and the dry brush is cleared. Fire is a real danger here, as are bears. That’s why we chose the tallest barbed wire fences we could build all the way around the property and corrugated aluminum for all our siding and roofs. I had ulterior motives for that though. Have you ever seen the perfect spacing of ice cycles formed from corrugated roofs? They are perfect and beautiful! Plus, we all love the sound of the rain on the metal roof. Anyway, we ride around with a little trailer full of fencing tools and materials, fix whatever needs to be fixed, and fill it up with dead brush and junk that we either burn or throw in the compost heap.
“K. I gotta finish up changing the tranny fluid in the truck and then I’ll take Zave around with me. Did you see the fish I caught this morning? One’s huge and the other one is ok.”
“No! Dang! You were up early!!!”
“5:30ish. I saw you smoking my weed when I got back before I started on the cars.”
“Phishaw! YOUR weed!”
“MOM!” Jazz and Zave are mad at me.
“Whatever,” Jahj says, “You guys know she smokes and it’s better than being drunk all the time. I don’t see anything wrong with it.”
“Your brain has to be developed before you guys ever try it.” I say. “It makes me calm and motivated and happy. I feel comfortable smoking out here. I never could feel right about it when I had to go to work, even on the weekends. I just feel so much better here.”
“I’m NEVER doing that!” Jazz sneers.
“I don’t think I will either. It’s REALLY illegal in South Korea.” Jahmila says for the like hundred millionth time.
“Yes Jahj, we know.” Says Daddy.
“I was gonna go ask Dillan if he could come fishing with me! I don’t wanna go fix the stupid fence!” Zave complains.
“Dude! The fish don’t bite during the day! You gotta wait till it’s almost dark, That’s when you catch ‘em..” I tell him.
“I’ll take you guys out this evening, but you gotta help me with that fence and get your school work done first.” His Dad tells him.
“Maaan! That’s stupid.”
“You talkin’ back to me kid?” Sant asks, “Fine. I won’t take you fishing tonight, or tomorrow, and that phone is mine tonight.”
“Fine. I go with you to fix the stupid fence.” Sulks the kid.
I look at Zave hard. “Check the attitude, or the phone is mine for a week. Jahj, It’s your day for dishes.” She rolls her eyes. I ignore it. We have one bowl, plate, knife, fork, spoon and cup for each of us, and we all wash our own after every meal, but we take turns washing the pots and pans and such. Jahmila loathes dishes more than any of us, but not so much as she did before we came out here and minimalized.

Choices Part 3

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Image taken from the artforadults Instagram page. Not my work.

Several previous posts have outlined the events that have lead up to the mess my life is in right now. None of it is pretty, lots of it makes me ashamed. I am stagnant and depressed. I keep saying I have no hope, but if I didn’t, then I wouldn’t be writing this, I wouldn’t even try to get up in the morning and the dreams I have would go away and leave me alone. It’s been brought to my attention that I have choices. I CAN change my life no matter how impossible it seems. I NEED to change my life, or at least my outlook on the life I have. I have always gone where the wind blew me, until it blew me into pregnancy and marriage, which seem like a dark corner where the gusts can’t reach and so I stay here damp and rotting till someone comes with a broom and sweeps me out. The thing is, I don’t want to depend on anyone with a broom! I want to sweep myself out! Maybe not even out of marriage, and certainly not out of motherhood, but out of this stagnant depression, this groundhog day like existence of doing the same things day in and day out. Get up, take kids to school, go to work, come home, eat, help with homework, go to bed and do it five days a week and then clean and prepare all weekend for the next week to be exactly the same. My life isn’t horrible. I have three beautiful kids who love me, a husband who cares deeply for me, a job that pays the bills and feeds us all even if just barely, a car, clean running water, this computer, all things that most of the world doesn’t have and many yearn for. It’s absolutely unfulfilling, boring and enslaving. I have no time or money to LIVE. I only exist and I MUST do something about that. So here I plan to list my dreams, plans to make them happen, obstacles to overcome, pros and cons of each including the effects they may have on my family, in the hopes of being able to choose a pathway to freedom and happiness, or at least less depression. getting them all in order is going to be tough, so please bear with me as I struggle.

 

When I think of the ultimate happy life for myself from this point on, this is what it looks like:

I could somehow magically quit my job and still pay my bills, no, pay them completely off except maybe the mortgage and I could stay home while my husband worked at whatever amazing job has magically presented itself.

I would still have to wake up Monday morning at the ungodly hour of 6:00am to take my daughter to school, but once I got home and saw my boy off, I could start laundry, do dishes, clean the downstairs and then the upstairs. In the summer, I’d tend my garden before cleaning the house, before things got too hot. That all should take maybe two hours. Then I would shower and dress and shop for the week. I’d get home, unpack groceries and head upstairs to Blog for the remaining two hours before it was time to pick up my daughter from school. We’d come home and I’d help kids with homework before starting dinner. We would eat, and clean up together, then I’d either hang out with them or go upstairs and read articles and watch vlogs on how to homestead, permaculture, how to raise animals for food, how to build treehouses, how to navigate the art business…

Tuesdays, up at 6:00am, off to school, home, garden, clean, shower, then go to some art studio like The Generator for four hours to work on some massive project till it was time to pick up my girl. Then home, homework, dinner, clean up, and hang with kids or watch more vlogs and read more articles on beekeeping and woodworking and outdoor survival…

Wednesdays, 6:00am, school, home, garden, clean, shower, Generator for art, school, home…well, you get the idea. All that till I could accumulate a big enough body of work to show my art at as many events, galleries and contests as possible up to and including Burning Man. Hopefully that would allow me to make more money and connect with people who could actually show me how to do all the things I have been trying to learn about through blogs, vlogs and articles. I would be able to keep up with housework and homework as well as having my own time to do the art, building and gardening work I’m passionate about. I would have time to plan the healthy meals which I love to find and prepare for my family. I would make meals and snacks that I know would help heal their minds, bodies and spirits as well as my own. We would use essential oils and other 100% natural products to clean our home and treat ailments and keep us healthy. I would have the TIME and money and energy to decorate and prepare for holidays and vacations. I would have TIME to clean up after our adventures and get the home back in order. On weekends I could afford to take the time and money to go on adventures with the family and bring them to my shows and exhibitions.

With the money I’d make from my art I would continue to fix this house up. I’d be able to put new floors in, update to energy saving appliances, make the murals and decorate the rooms the way I envisioned them. I could finish the ocean mural in my friend’s home and all the other projects I’ve started for friends but haven’t had the time or energy to finish. Once it was all done, I’d stay for two years enjoying it, making art, making connections and getting the kids through school as happy and healthy as we can be within this system and within this marriage.

Then we would sell this house and buy unimproved land somewhere and build ourselves a homestead where we could get EVERYTHING we need from our own land and be independent of the system except for property taxes, insurance, and the smallest necessities needed from town or other homesteaders. We’d go to music festivals and sell our wears and grow our own meat and veggies. I KNOW it’s not impossible! I can SEE people out there DOING it!

 

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Again, not my image. Taken from Instagram username wendyortizart.

 

All of that is how I WISH things could go from now till then. But where is the money going to come from? I have to face the fact that my husband is probably never going to get a job that could support us all and provide enough money to actually live life like that. No one is going to just GIVE us money to make that happen, and I’m not sure I’d even want them to. I hate feeling DEPENDENT on anyone. I hate being dependent on my husband for his half of the contribution to everything right now. I don’t want to ever feel obligated to anyone except those less fortunate than me. Maybe this hang-up with obligation is why I have a hard time opening up to my husband physically. I hate that I feel obligated and that it’s not my own not passionate choice in that moment, especially since there is only a small window of time between other obligations to get it done. I also HATE going to work outside my home and having to bend my family’s life around it. My kids are alone far too much of the time. I just don’t see any way around it. I make art whenever there are no other obligations and there is time before bed or I can afford to stay up and work when the inspiration is there. That happens maybe once a month, if even that. But I still do it and I will hopefully be able to come up with a consistent body of work at some point. Right now it feels like it’ll never happen. I’m struggling to come up with any kind of plan to make even small parts of this lifestyle come to be. Here are things I think I should do:

Meal plan on weekends and give a list of groceries to my husband. I don’t do the shopping, but maybe I should start doing that on weekends. He would scream about the bill, but maybe I can get him to trade the mortgage bill I pay, for the grocery bill he pays and then I wouldn’t have to answer to him for the amount of money it takes to feed a family of five an abundantly healthy diet. I’m not sure I’d even have the money or energy to pull that off, but I can look into it. I don’t get home till almost 7:00pm and I still have to help kids with homework, so he does most of the cooking and I’d have to depend on him to stick to the meal plan. Sometimes he’s not home till late either and then it’s even harder, but I enjoy cooking, and if we are eating right, the kids might not have as much trouble in school and I might be able to spend less time having to help them. I have no idea when we’d have time to fix up healthy snacks that so often require putting together instead of just opening a plastic package, but we can try…

I need to make a budget. How much we make vs. how much goes out. I already know it’s pathetic. I’ve done it before and got scared, so I put it out of my mind and hoped for the best. I need a PLAN for paying off all this debt that wasn’t a problem when I was getting paid a lot more. I can’t ignore it anymore. I MUST put in more effort to stay on top of my bills. I must get my money organized. I need to accept the possibility of bankruptcy or at least call the creditors and ask  for options to lessen the burden. When I think about this I get terrified. I’m no good on the phone even with friends and family. Seriously, the phone SCARES me. I know it’s irrational and after I do take care of something like that I feel better, but I’m literally terrified of paperwork and legal stuff and talking to people on the phone, or asking for help, or accepting defeat and fault. But it’s time to suck it up and act like the adult/parent that I am.

I need to stop complaining and be grateful. My kids aren’t sick, my husband isn’t sick. I am sick, but it’s fatigue and depression, not some life threatening, expensive hospitalizing disease. I CAN still get up in the morning and I CAN still go to work, I CAN still help the kids with homework and let them vent and talk to me about whatever they need. No matter how much I want change and adventure, no matter how much I resent my life as it is now, I DO have a lot of things to be grateful about.

Lastly, I guess I need to ask for help. I don’t know who to ask or how to ask or even really what to ask FOR. Anyway, enough for now. Thanks for reading. Really just typical American woman lifestyle stuff I guess. Advice and encouragement welcome.

 

 

Help?

img_9154Help. It’s such a hard thing to say, harder to accept. It’s hard to even know what you’re asking for or who to ask. I’ve been navigating the world alone for the past two years, fighting depression, debt, lost dreams, lost love, family issues. I don’t want to ask anyone, even if I knew who to ask. I don’t want to depend on anyone. I don’t want to even dare to hope that there is help or that anyone would help. Why should they? Everyone has their own struggle, their own debt and lost dreams, their own responsibilities. I have effectively cut off all my old friends. They don’t have the knowledge or recourses to help me even if they wanted to, which they wouldn’t because I shut them out. I don’t have any close family that can help me and those that could, I can’t ask. I wouldn’t even know what to ask for. I wouldn’t even know how to implement the help or advice because time and money are so ridiculously tight.  I don’t want to be bailed out, I want to EARN my hopes and dreams, not have them handed to me. I feel trapped, strapped down in the bed I made. I’m still struggling to break the bonds though. Trying with every spare moment that my body will let me be productive to plan and THINK my way out. My last post was a list of things we’d need to go off grid. But first I need to get out of debt. It seems hopeless and here is why. This is the list I made about my income to debt:

 

Average income is about $1,700/month

Bills broken down by how much should be paid/month – if they are paid quarterly I divided into how much it would be/month. My husband makes just a little less than I do and he handles the groceries, power, sewer, water, car insurance and upkeep as well as his own credit card bills. Just as a side note, we haven’t charged anything except small vet bills in the last two years at least.

Mortgage – $640

Student loan – $50

Chase – $100

Home Depot – $100

Gas – $180

Property Taxes – $110

HOA – $20

New York Life – $30

Kids Insurance – $25

Cigarettes – $60

Fast food – $100

DoTerra – $60

Make-up – $50

Clothing or other necessities – $100

TOTAL = $1,625

 

Which means I should have about $75 left over every month.

Time to start keeping track of EVERY PENNY!

The FIRST step to independence is getting out of debt so I can start saving for the dream. As it is, it looks like I should be able to put away almost $75 every month, but I’m left with less than $10 at the end of every pay period. I need to know what the heck I’m doing with my money.

I can quit buying DoTerra all together. I can try like hell to at least cut down on the cigarettes. I don’t think I actually spend that much on makeup, but I can’t quit wearing it, cuz the bosses told me I had to. I don’t spend that much on clothes, but the “other necessities’ that I’m not even sure what they are, a kids field trip here, a bottle of wine there, pick up this or that at the store over there… Some of that is late fees too, cuz I can’t freaking keep the fuck up. Paying my mortgage late again this month which brings it up to $674, and I have to turn right around and pay it again out of this paycheck if I want to avoid another late fee. The property taxes will be due again in a month and how I’m going to save $450 by then I just can’t fathom, which means another late fee. I’m drowning and I don’t know how to keep my head above the water. How the hell do people do this? I see all kinds of new cars on the road and ours are on the verge of falling apart, even though we both wake up at the ass crack of dawn and work our asses off at the expense of raising our children. I want out. I hate money and the money sucking machine that robs people of life.

So I’m screaming, whether I want to or not, whether anyone will hear or answer. SOMEONE HELP ME GET OUT PLEASE!!!!!just-start

Choices Part 2

I cut him off in November and tried to concentrate on my new job and catch up on bills with an income cut almost in half. I had to try to get ok with the fact that this is where I was stuck now, that art and building, sculpture, gardening and sustainable living weren’t where I was gonna be for God only knew how long. I wasn’t doing well. My last boss was so encouraging, told me I was the fastest learner he’d ever encountered and one of the best jewelers he’d ever known. I felt stupid and inadequate here though, I was struggling hard, knocked down more than I was lifted up no matter how hard I was trying. I was a prisoner in my own home, unable to keep up with bills or housework and certainly unable to continue fixing the house and yard. The kids were and still are being left at home alone while we both work and I had told myself I’d NEVER let that happen. There was and still is zero expendable income and me and my husband were irritable and stressed out with no way to relax or blow off steam. No outlet for our frustration. Then in July, he messaged me, my Trailer Trash Skater Boy. He said my husband was in his dreams, he missed him and was confused about why we had cut him off. I told him to message my husband and leave me out of it, but my heart was pounding out of  my chest and I just wanted to talk to him like we used to. He asked more questions, and I told him I’d message him after work.

I went home, ran a bath, poured myself a glass of wine and spilled my guts. His response was something like, “We never flirted or said anything inappropriate to each other ever. I was just happy you would talk to me. We never did anything wrong! But it’s pretty clear now, that you love me and I love you, and we can do something about that without hurting anybody.” And for the next four months we talked every single day about hopes and dreams and our lives as they were right then, about our kids and projects he was working on. What we did for dinner and how we missed each other being right there beside each other doing daily things like laundry and shopping. We talked about art projects we’d do together, what we’d have in our garden, how we’d build our treehouse and how we’d travel with next to nothing but the clothes on our backs. He’d write me poetry that was the perfect blend of romance and raunch, love and humor, things that would make me sigh with delight and laugh out loud and ache with lust. He was at once lovingly romantic and disgustingly dirty and playful. I would tell him all my flaws and he’d come back with perfectly logical and loving responses that told me he wasn’t dismissing my imperfections, but embracing them. He was ready for them.

Once I asked him what our first fight would be and he said, “Period panties in the sink.” and I was like, “Gross! I’d NEVER do that! Put some Spray n Wash on those shits and throw ’em in the washer! But I DO loose a lot of hair in the shower that I don’t want going down the drain, so I collect them in a pile in the corner of the shower and then I forget to throw them out. It gets gross.” and he said, “I’d collect them and cherish each one like they were strands of gold.” Like, who says shit like that??? But I believe him, because I always paid attention to how he talked about his friends and family, his kids and his ex-wife, and it was always loving sentimental shit like that even before he thought about trying to impress me. Plus, he’s an artist and we do crazy stuff like that. He’d probably make ’em into hair on a weird artsy doll or something. Did I mention he sews too?

It DID eventually get inappropriate, very very inappropriate at times, and like I said, my body responded. I had thought that part of me was dead and it scared me and excited me and had me totally addicted right quick. I felt sexy and beautiful for the first time in years, like he was making love to my being before he had ever seen or touched my body, and though he’s seen me now, he still hasn’t ever actually touched me except for brief hugs back years ago when he and my husband were still friends. He has seen my body now, through pictures and videos. The first time I sent him a picture was after his dog died. He had come home with a huge gash in his side that would need extensive surgery to fix and my Love had to have someone come help him put the poor thing down. he was sad and panicked and I did it to cheer him up, to prove to him that my feelings were real. After I sent it, I threw up. I threw up almost every day for about a month after that. Even though I loved and still love this man, I was and still am married to a different man, a good man who is the father of my three children.

After that picture it was on and crackin’. We did some really shifty shit besides the pictures and videos. I made a fake Facebook account and a Twitter account so we could talk. I opened a PO Box that he paid for so he could send me little things, and I called him once in a while. It was wonderful and awful.

 

I thought I would leave my family for him. I thought they wouldn’t care much. I was thinking about love and freedom, but not money or logistics. They don’t like the things I like. They don’t think the things I think are important are important. I’m a dirty hippie at heart, my husband and girls want to live in a city with a nice car, stainless steel appliances and modern décor. I still haven’t seen Yosemite or Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon, and I haven’t been to the Redwoods since I was little, let alone anywhere out of the country, and they want to go to San Francisco to Japan and Korea Town and to the big malls. I have fun doing that too, for them, but my SELF is being smothered. I don’t even have the time, money or energy to make master tonic or chicken soup or natural lotions and salves or to tend the small garden I do have. I want to build my own sustainable home and sit out on the deck I helped build smoking weed and drinking tea and sit by the fire snuggled up to my loved ones reading aloud or watching a movie. I want to build and create and raise my own food and cook from scratch, can and preserve shit, make crafts and art to sell at festivals, go backpacking across country and live amongst the trees. But even that life requires an abundance of money that I don’t have. Even if it was possible, my fear is that this fatigue, this heaviness, this depression wouldn’t leave my body and I’d fail at that life like I’m failing this suburban one. I know that diet and exercise and creativity are all essential to fighting depression and that lifestyle lends itself to all those things where this one sucks them all away. Changes must be made, but how? Going away to depend on another man for those things, and one on a fixed income at that,  may not be the best way and I’m aware of that.

When my husband ran across my fake account and came to the realization of my deception, he went ballistic. He screamed and yelled and threw things, understandably. He found the stupidest picture he could of Trailer Trash Boy, one where the idiot had shaved the top of his head like an old man and made a face at the camera after having a spray paint fight with his son, and showed it to the kids telling them, “This is gonna be your new step-daddy! You like that? Huh? You’re GROSS Jen! You disgust me!”. He called me every name he could come up with, and I just sat there and took it while the kids cried. What could I say? It was my fault this was happening. He went through so many emotions. He told me I had been his pride, that he loved me and never thought he’d have to worry about anything like this, that he had always thought he had the best wife of all his friends. When he went through my phone and saw all the pictures and conversations he cried. It was the first time I’d ever seen him cry over anything but death. I wanted to comfort him, but how? He wanted sex from me more than anything after that, but my body responded the way it always had and worse, by closing in on itself and shying away. I love him, but I don’t want to make love to him, I can’t and it’s not that I haven’t tried or that he’s bad or anything. My body simply refuses to go there, and I hate it.

My oldest kept telling me she loves me no matter what I decide, but she doesn’t want me to leave. My middle daughter refused to talk to me for months and wouldn’t let me touch her till just recently. She’s having trouble in school and stopped caring about keeping her room cleaned or helping around the house like she used to do. My son cried and told me he loves me, asked me questions about Skater Boy, never judging either of us, he was incredibly understanding and forgiving, but said he doesn’t want me to go. My husband kept wanting to talk about it, but I’d close up. I don’t know how to talk about it. We can’t even keep one household afloat, how could we possibly keep two?

I got caught talking to him again a couple times till November of 2015 when I cut him off completely. I still miss our conversations with every breath. I still hate this existence, still can’t get to a place of craving my husbands advances. I still loath getting up in the morning to leave the kids and the house I so desperately want to keep clean and transform into the vision I had for it when we bought it. My husband still wants to talk about it, still can’t let it go, and yet, still tries to make me happy, to take care of me. He just can’t. Sure he works and pays bills, but he’d do that with or without me. He takes care of our children, but he’d do that no matter who their mother was. He cares that I am depressed and miserable. He’s even said multiple times that I should just go, but I can’t leave my kids and I can’t afford to live here in a place that would have enough room for them. I can’t stand how every single night he looks at me accusingly and says, “You’re missing.” meaning my Trailer Trash Boy, and he’s right, but I always deny it. I can’t stand how he insults him every day, calls him Busta Boy and makes fun of how small he is, commenting about his little hands and feet, sneering about how he lives off the state and doesn’t work, telling me stories about how he had wronged him in their youth and telling me that anyone they grew up with would tell me what an asshole this guy is. He doesn’t understand that insulting someone I love is insulting me. He doesn’t get that I’ve probed this mans heart and mind for years and come to my own conclusion about him. He’s had fifteen years to learn and grow just like we have. He’s not a kid anymore. Insulting this man is not going to make me love him any less or love my husband any more. As a matter of fact, it may have just the opposite effect. Even so, I DO take many of these things into consideration, not because my husband points them out, but because as much as I hate being an adult, I am one and I HAVE to think rationally instead of like a love-struck teenager.

 

We spoke briefly through messenger about a month ago, reaffirming that we miss each other, that we love each other. My husband caught us talking, again, I’m really bad at this sneaky shit apparently, and the whole thing blew up again. Now I’m here, writing this because I have to make changes in my life. I HAVE to. I have to decide what routs are open to me, what I want, what can be done, which way is going to make the most sense and make me the happiest, or at least the least sad. I cut Skater Boy off for now despite how much I miss him because it’s obvious that we have said everything we can possibly say to each other from this place of indecision. He knows I love him, I know he loves me, but unless I’m willing to pack up and leave my kids, what’s the point of talking, of torturing ourselves? He’s only going to beg me to come and I’m going to resist leaving my kids and it’s going to ruin us. So, unless I figure out that going to him would be the best thing for me and my family, I’m not going to talk to him anymore no matter how much I miss him.

The last time we talked, he helped me understand that I have nothing but choices ahead of me. I have to weigh pros and cons of each possible choice, make lists, make plans, decide which ones to follow and then actually DO it. He said he understands my position and the difficulty of it, that he’d never be mad at me for not choosing him, but that he’d be there no matter what, no matter how long it takes.

 

Now I guess it’s time to start writing out my options, my dreams, think about what I can do in the near future to drag myself out of this darkness and start on a path to happiness, or at least less depression. Stay tuned.

My First Step Toward Homesteading. Help? Please?

I have all these passions inside me. Things that grew from … probably my childhood living in Oregon and Tahoe, I don’t know, but as I have become an adult, the passions grew but so did all these circumstances that have prevented me from actually perusing them. So now I find myself, almost 40 with this weird “American Dream” (More like nightmare!) type of lifestyle with a pretty ok job and a husband with two pretty ok jobs, barely making our bills, living out in suburbia (A.K.A. hell, ok maybe it’s not SO bad…) with our 2.5 kids (Three. We have three kids. I guess we are the rare family that made that stupid point five, like you can have half a kid…whatever.). Our cars are on the brink, and the boy has a nice medical bill from THINKING he MIGHT have broken his arm,that we can’t pay thanks to medicaid cutting the kids off every other month and having to re-apply which is a torturous process (I loath paperwork!) and I’m about to take the family dog to the vet next week because he’s limping, has stinky ears and seasonal allergies that cause him to scratch himself bald.  So I know you’re kinda sorta supposed to start these things with some kind of “budget” (Watever that is), but yea, our budget right now is negative nothing. So all I’m left with are these passions, and my head is gonna explode one of these days and I’m gonna go postal if I don’t do SOMETHING, ANYTHING to start moving toward them. So I’m making lists. Things to research, to learn about to do in order to get us closer to the actual DOING of the things. I’d love any insight any of you homesteaders have regarding this list (I need SPECIFICS people!!!) and I’m going to work on each thing at least three times a week (God and Family willing). So here’s my list, my first tiny baby step, me, throwing it out into the universe (A.K.A the internet) in the hopes that if I keep stepping and keep throwing, it’ll all come back to me somehow.

 

Homestead check list.

 

 

How much wood will we need for approximately 2000 sq ft of structure (Not nessesarily one big house, but maybe a network of tree-structures for the family, a small barn, a shed and a wood shed?

What kinds of wood will we need?

Will we need steel beams or other components, what kind and how much will they be?

What types of widows will we have?

What type of insulation will be best?

Composting toilets. How do they work, how much do they cost?

What kind of bathing system will be best for us?

What other supplies for building will we need?

cattle panel

What kinds of tools and equipment will we need?

come-a-long

hand tools -screwdrivers, hammers, hand drills, saws, crowbar, ropes, chains, pullys

power tools? cordless or non? how much power would we need for the running of such things?

Wood burning stoves. What are the best kinds, how much are they?

Rainwater cachment systems?

How much does it cost to dig a well?

What should we look for when purchasing land as far as growing food and having enough water and wood?

Can we use water from nearby lakes/rivers/streams? How?

Plumbing to and from a treehouse?

Water filtration?

Water heater?

What kind of power and how much will we need?

How much storage will we need?

How will we make money?

What will we live in while building and implementing our plan?

How much $$ will we need initially?

What is our plan for getting that $$?

Internet/WIFI? We know we need it, how will we get it and how much will it cost?

How much food will we need to grow to sustain our family = How much land will we need?

Best growing/harvesting practices?

Food preservation practices?

Wood storage shed.

Hoop house for growing during winter months.

10-12 chickens.

One milk cow.

Four or five goats.

link to article I read on arched cattle panel animal shelter DIY:

http://www.valhalla-project.com/2013/09/valhallas-quick-and-easy-arched-cattle.html

 

A dog.

Several outdoor cats.

Maybe a llama for wool.

Best composting practices?

Keeping critters out of the garden.

Bees! Types of hives and best beekeeping practices.

Treehouse building practices and techniques?

How are we going to gain that knowledge?

Fruit trees, how to prune and take care of them.

How much money will we need each month for things we can’t grow or make from the nature around us? Like castile soap, borax, hydrogen peroxide, essential oils, flour beans and rice, gas, clothing etc. as well as bills like property taxes and insurance etc…

What exactly WILL all those extra expenses be?

A small barn/coop for the few animals.

Clothes washing? In winter?

What will our daily schedules look like?

Weekly Schedules?

Monthly Schedules?

Yearly Schedules?

What laws/regulations/codes make life harder/easier for homesteaders?

recipes:

Cinnamon Bourbon Cherries

useful hacks for homestead living:

http://mentalfloss.com/article/51702/10-lifehacks-100-years-ago

http://www.homesteadingfreedom.com/the-worlds-simplest-and-oldest-chair-design/2/

 

So that’s it. My baby step.

Today I pushed you from me. 


  

For the second time in history.

In reality I can’t count how many times I’ve pushed you out.

But this time…

Oh this time it’s as sweet as it’s been bitter.

Cuz you’ll think of me too as time grows thicker.

Waiting on the Other Side

  Are you there? 

On the other side?

Watching me? Waiting?

I’m lonely.

Slowly returning to normalcy.

No longer hiding and scared.

Still can’t eat much.

Can’t sit down much.

I walk around sighing

playing with my hair

touching my face

hugging myself.

One second smiling,

The next I’m dying.

I’m a twitterpated tween.

Shake it off

Check my phone

My inbox is safely,

despairingly…empty.

Love songs are no longer meaningless, but tragic.

Attempting to push emotions

& crackling chemistry asside

Trying to bring back logic 

In order to decide.

Think RATIONAL thoughts Jeanette!

Reality is rarely like our fantasies.

Don’t jump in blind.

(Self Portrait by JETTE 1997)