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Lucretia tripping
For most of the last month, my husband and I, finding ourselves otherwise trapped in a house full of boxes, have taken to mini-escapes every other day or so to go driving, exploring every possible nook and cranny we may have missed here: odd little shops, winding country roads, various tree farms, out of the way parks, etc. We end up taking a lot of impromptu hikes, weather permitting (its either perfect or drenching rain this last month.)

Partially its that we're restless because we want to get out of here and get on with things. Partially its our way of saying good-bye to this whole region, which is very nice and too close to Portland to remain so for long. Already, the previously rural Damascus area is getting massively covered by those close-together "yuppieville horror" housing developments. We're not far from the furthest most people are willing to commute in to Portland, therefore it will likely be incorporated into the broader Metro regional land use laws (dense housing closer in to the city to prevent unmitigated sprawl.) It would pain me to stick around and watch it happen, so another reason its nice to leave.

We really did luck out these last few years. Stone's Throw is a very nice little town and the nurseries around here are very picturesque along shallow rolling hills with Mt. Hood in the near background and plenty of natural areas of forest interspersed around. I've loved living here and was prepared to see it through for the long haul had finances permitted. But now its like we have to take the time to appreciate things before its no longer convenient. I swear I've learned more about all the small towns between us and Estacada, Sandy, and the gorge than I ever knew in the last 6 years of being on this far east side of Portland!

We've checked out several antique stores as a part of our venture to pop into odd shops, and between all the driving around and seeing stuff from my childhood, its made me oddly nostalgic for a much earlier era of my life. Not the bad dramatic stuff, but more of the peaceful and functional periods prior to age 8 (1978) for me. Its a weird mental state to find myself because I rarely long for the past or my youth at ALL, but its been rather healing in its way. My mind floats off to another place and I re-connect to the more positive aspects of a me before life encouraged me to be so whiny and bitter! LOL. As bad as things got back then, they weren't so bad to begin with... I have good memories. Not everyone has a family that devolves the way mine did, they were just always fucked up. At least I had a good 7 to 8 years of sanity to start. That likely gave me gifts to pull from when times got so horrific. It also gives me more hope for the future for some reason.

This afternoon, Gerick and I went to Oxbow park for a few hours, just to walk around and enjoy the PERFECT weather. Mid 70s, light breeze, not too warm or cool, excellent low humidity. I was surprised at how far and for how long I was able to hike about. I'm not nearly in as bad a shape as I feared after a long winter of relatively sedentary living. Too, it helps that I wasn't flaring in the slightest and my heart wasn't confused and wonking out on me! I came back feeling refreshed and looking forward to a classic White Gables firepit night! It may be our last ever here.
Lucretia artsy
Yep- twas my b-day today!

Good day. Slept in a bit-- until my mother called to wish me a Happy Birthday at the exact time of my birth, which was in the AM! Got lots of Happy Birthday wishes from friends and LJ peeps! (Thanks ParaPi for the wee gifty and message! And VWalles for the message!)

All I did today was go for a drive and walk with my husband during the afternoon to a couple of parks set smack in the middle of pretty tree nursery country and then have Tad, Darcy, and Tess over for cake and ice cream while I opened a few presents. Nothing TOO over-the-top besides the expensive air purifier and my very first cell phone.

I have stayed away from cell phones for 2 main reasons: 1) I don't run around a lot and its cheaper to have a land line in most places. 2) When I DO go out, I don't want to be interrupted. I really hate hanging out with people who answer their calls when we're socializing and ignore me and I don't want to be one of those obnoxious people, either!

BUT--! We're moving to a place where our internet and phone service aren't easily bundled into some cable deal (in fact, no cable service at ALL) so we have to come up with some alternatives. We got a family phone plan with the guys and... so here I am. Finally joining the 21st century! =^D

I really really wanted to be in my new home before my birthday, but all the same I consider the house the biggest b-day gift of all. Just the change and improvement in my life is a big deal to me. We'll get there soon in any event, and then I shall truly be celebrating!

In the meantime, I shall cope as best I can in a townhome full of boxes!
obiwan
I came across this gem a few days ago:  www.peakprosperity.com/podcast/92330/john-michael-greer-god-technological-progress-may-well-dead

The best bits are worth quoting.

"... everybody is emotionally committed to the myth of progress. They are so great a target and it has such a religious quality to us, progress is that which will save us. Progress promises us this glorious Star Trek destiny metastasizing across the galaxy or what have you. To let that go, again it is trying to get a medieval peasant to look up and notice that Heaven with God, the saints, and angels is not up there anymore. So people are wigging out. One of the most common ways to wig out in a situation like that is to cling to the dysfunctional belief system – the beliefs that do not work anymore – ever more tightly, even if they drag you down. That is what we have going on in the modern industrial world. People are going through the motions of a belief system that had stopped working, but they cannot let themselves admit that it stopped working. If that is the case, then God is dead.

***
When I was young, a working class family with one income could buy a house, could own a car, could go on vacation every so often, could keep paid up on all their bills, and led a pretty good lifestyle. These days, a working class family with one income in many places cannot stay off the street. That is a huge transformation and everyone is pretending that it does not matter. Almost everyone is pretending that it does not matter and we are still on track.

The United States can no longer afford to maintain its road system. State and county road maintenance budgets have been cut so far that in a lot of western states now, entire sections of the road system are being allowed to return to gravel because nobody can afford to keep them up. Our national bridges are a disgrace. They are falling down. What happened? We could afford to maintain our bridges up until a certain point. What happened? Nobody wants to talk about that. America is in decline. It has been declining rapidly, ever more rapidly, for decades now. Nobody wants to admit it. We dress up our emperor in ever more elaborate imaginary clothing. Most people again use the thought stoppers, so they do not notice what is actually going on.

***
 [Chris M.-- the interviewer] Come on people. Think this through.

John:  No, we cannot think this through. If we think this through, we realize just how deep up to our eyeballs in alligators we are at this point. That is one of the temptations that makes just going through the motions and pretending that nothing has changed so tempting. You do not have to deal with the stress. As you say, sooner or later you can repress something that will come back out. It is just that people are very good at saying "I just do not want to deal with it now." Unfortunately, they are going to deal with it in a much harder form down the road.

***
The boomers, I think it is partly that they have the most to lose. But there is of course the other factor that I have written about. It is that the boomer generation was the generation that was really coming into public life at the time that America turned its back on the prospect of transitioning to a sustainable future. An awful lot of boomers sold out. I mean the hippie generation, the people who were saying we will never put on business suits; we are going to do peace, love, and community. It is solar panels, windmills, geodesic domes in the countryside. Now all of a sudden they are going to work for Fortunte500 corporations with a nice short haircut and a tie. The boomers, generally speaking, were one of the most idealistic generations in American history. They were also one of the most privileged and one of the most convinced of their own entitlement. They faced over and over again the confrontation between their ideals and their privilege.

Over and over again with certain noble exceptions, over and over again most of them chose the privilege and spent the next ten years insisting at the top of their lungs that they have not cashed in their ideals. You have situations now where people who were vocal environmentalists in the 1970s are now out there pimping for the nuclear industry. They cannot possibly—we have to have a future with enough power and electricity to power our iPhones. If that means loading the planet with waste that remain lethally dangerous for a quarter of a million years, hey that is fine. We have our iPhones. That kind of betrayal of ideals, that kind of copping out, and of selling out leaves immense psychological scars. I really think that modern American history cannot be understood unless you remember just how many people are now either the boomer generation or they are in positions of power. They are largely running the country at this point. These are the people who sold out at the end of the sixties and again with the coming of the Raegan era.

***
[Regarding future] It is a matter of just the total number of crises, of catastrophes, of natural and unnatural disasters, of economic downturns, of economic contraction, of political failure, and of war. All of these just keep on ramping steadily upwards. When exactly your number comes up to take part in the general process of decline in any given way, it is going to vary by factors that are very difficult to predict. They are happening right now to many people. I mean right now if you live in Greece, you have collapsed. Your standard of living has dropped to the floor. Right now if you live in California, you are facing the transformation of what was one of America’s wealthiest states into the combination dust bowl and rust belt of the twenty-first century.

People who lose their job and do not ever get a new one is increasingly common in America these days. The total number of people we do not report as unemployed because they are permanently unemployed just keeps on ratcheting upwards. So you have this bizarre situation where people can pretend that everything is fine. It is business as usual. We are on our way to the stars. This is until something happens to them. Then they are kind of edited out of the picture. That said, I expect some fairly large jolts in the near future. When the fracking bubble implodes, I think we have a pretty fair likelihood of at least a massive crisis here in America. It is probably a massive financial crisis worldwide. I have seen figures—I do not know how well documented and what the kind of documentation is beneath them—that the total amount of dubious credit that has been manufactured in the course of funding the fracking bubble is about twice what was produced to fund the housing bubble. That is going to leave some gaping holes in a lot of balance sheets as that goes pear shaped.

We are looking at a major economic crisis in the United States, and possibly more broadly, in the very near future. We are looking at the likelihood of major wars. If the situation in Yemen right now spins much further out of control, we probably have World War III in the Middle East between the Sunni and the Shia. It could become a complete blood bath. That is the one thing I could think of that could make fracking profitable again. If the Persian Gulf is aflame with war and people are blowing up each other's oil installations, there is going to be a shortage of oil and prices will go back up. We may actually have a chance to continue fracking out until 2020. That is something for your listeners to keep an eye on. If that does not happen, it is complicated.

We are looking at a situation where the international order that has been in place since the second World War is cracking. It is going to break completely as the United States falls out of its position as superpower. Exactly who will replace it is an interesting question. The Chinese are certainly trying to position themselves. It will be interesting to see how they deal with their own looming economic crisis, their huge overhang of unpayable debt, and so on. What I am seeing for the future and what I have been seeing all this time is one crisis after another, one catastrophe after another, one war after another and one recession and depression. Okay, let us use the D-word. There is one depression after another. There is ratcheting downwards as the energy supply decreases. Again, it is White’s Law. Economic development is a function of energy per capita. As energy per capita declines, economic development goes into reverse. That is one of the things you cannot say in public."


Indeed very refreshing to see laid out like that, no bullshit, no denial.

Bullshit Detectors Make People Nervous

Lucretia
I've talked about how many of my friendships have blown up melodramatically, and how several of those former friends returned and are my friends once more, sometimes years after our estrangement commenced. Its an odd situation, because not too many people have a friend-turned-enemy come back to apologize, seeking redemption and renewal of old ties. Yet this has happened to me several times.

I was talking to one such today on the phone, telling them the latest blow out with Fara & Tameka, and how it hurt my feelings to be falsely accused of nefarious motives even though I was relieved to be rid of the craziness. And, as I've done here, I wondered aloud about how often this type of thing has happened to me. What the hell about ME inspires such behavior out of others towards me?!

I forgot for a moment that I was talking to someone who had done this exact thing to me himself. He was quiet whilst I voiced my tirade, and then he chuckled, "You're like a massively perceptive bullshit detector, and that makes people nervous."

I apologized, because I wasn't trying to rehash the past with him, but he said he thought he understood what was causing me so much grief, and further, that he didn't think, given my proclivities, that I would ever be reformed!

Admittedly, I was intrigued, and told him if he had a way to explain it to me, being a former enemy of mine, by all means to shine some light on things! "Pray tell, just WHAT proclivities do you mean?"

So he said, "I can only speak from my own experience, and maybe what I saw out of your confrontation with my girlfriend, but I suspect its a personal way of approaching life and people you have that's behind it all..."

Yes, go on, I wanted to hear more I told him.

He sighed and said, "Its like this. You have a keen nose for smelling bullshit, and you're very good at expressing this. Nicely-- but still... So, say you run into a person happily, even proudly, clinging to some bullshit they picked up somewhere. This person may be standing in a group of people, some of whom have their own, but some who don't. To begin with, you're the only person who will say out loud, 'Say, does anyone smell something off?' "

I laughed at this. He was going with an actual bullshit metaphor. I admit I was both intrigued and delighted, and so continued to listen.

"Eventually, you figure out someone is carrying around some warm, steaming bullshit-- hugging it to their chest. You'll be the first to point this out as politely and delicately as you can to begin with, just asking a person what's the story behind the -- uh, bovine excrement they're carrying around? And the person, in deep denial, is taken aback and shaken, but insists that they're carrying around a new... puppy and how you could you miss that? They may be offended, but to begin with, they're usually just a little shocked anyone mentioned anything at all!"

I took this in as he went on.

"You'll tilt your head in confusion, genuinely surprised they're so misguided, and begin by pointing out how the mass they're carrying is warm and brown. They'll counter with, 'Yeah, of course my puppy is warm and brown!' Then you'll point out the distinct odor, and they'll insist their puppy rolled around in something. Still innocently confused as to how someone could mistake a load of shit for a pet, you'll knock their entire line of reasoning out by handing them a list at some point that gives the facts on how real puppies have legs and heads and tails and are animated creatures!"

I couldn't help it, this made me giggle.

"Whereupon they get massively offended and stoutly insist that you're being harsh and a little crazy. They will tell you a tale of how they rescued this poor puppy out of a field where it was in danger of being trampled by these big oblivious creatures chewing their cud, and they realized this precious baby dog was worth saving. How could you be so... unfeeling!?! Besides, they'll argue, LOTS of OTHER PEOPLE have also rescued puppies from that field and you should RESPECT those choices since so many others are doing it too!!

I was laughing outright now.

"At that point, not wanting to argue, you'll drop it, but both parties are left distinctly uncomfortable. You'll pretend to not notice when you run into them, but inevitably they show up at your door, still carrying said bullshit, and ask entrance into your house. You stand firm then, and tell them they can carry their-- puppy-- around as much as they like in the rest of the world, but you just can't let them in with it. You'll politely suggest they leave it outside on the porch, or you'll give them a big plastic bag to put it in or something..."

I interrupted, "I see what you're saying! As soon as it affects my relationship with the person or disrupts my life, I do tend to put my foot down."

"Yes. Exactly. But people are oddly stubborn about their own personal bullshit, and they'll argue with you to let them in while carrying it. That's when you come outside with them and sit down and talk about the days when you carried bullshit around too. You'll tell them its no cause for shame. In fact you have a lovely garden out back where you regularly use your personal bullshit that gets dumped on you from the world, or that you picked up by mistake, as the most excellent fertilizer. You'll lead the person to that very garden and show it to them. You'll then hand them some gardening books or links to gardening sites or something with healthy suggestions on what to do with bovine manure.

That's when the moment of truth arrives... No matter what lies a person tells themselves, you have an answer for everything. No one can argue with you using logic, or empathy, or tradition, or peer pressure, or cultural myth. You see into and behind all of it. You even prove that one doesn't have to keep clinging to these things but can successfully move on or find another use for the negative, smelly stuff of life. You're so nice about it, and respectful, but no matter what, that realization hits that -- OH MY GOD! I THINK LUCY'S RIGHT! I AM CLINGING TO BULLSHIT!!" and then this massive wave of shame hits that person. They feel so humiliated, and they realize that all that time you knew. You knew and you were truthful with them and... well... that's when its tempting to throw all that bullshit at your door or toss it at the ground in front of you and insist you pick it all up and
love their puppy, dammit!! "

I said, "And of course I make a face at that point and say, 'Yeah, no deal. And also? Gross!' "

"Exactly. They may even leave and come back, bringing a bunch of friends, all carrying bullshit too, to make their point that YOU are the crazy one. SEE HOW MANY PEOPLE AGREE WITH THEM?"

'Yeah, THAT line of reasoning drives me fucking insane!' I said to my friend.

"Of course it does because the truth is painfully obvious to you. They end up leaving in a big dramatic huff, still clinging to their bullshit-- whatever they didn't throw at you anyways!- and try to go back to their comfortable life before they knew how stupid they were being. But let me tell you something: I can speak from experience here-- afterwards it just isn't the same. They notice all those things you pointed out about the stench and the stains and the lack of soul in what they're clinging to and it bugs them like heck! Eventually, some may quietly start a garden of their own, like I did. And as they rake their previous bullshit into the soil, they contemplate all those other people who never said a word, either because they had their own bullshit to cling to, or because they were just too damned polite to tell the truth, and they realize they made a mistake when they failed to appreciate your bullshit detection talents! Meanwhile, you're scrubbing off your front door and your porch, wondering what the hell happened."

I was quiet and thoughtful for a time thinking about this, and finally asked, 'Do you think its worth it to bother pointing "shit" out to people? I actually try to just leave it alone most of the time...'

"You're talking to a reformed bullshit clinger here, so my answer is going to be a resounding NO. But I couldn't blame you for getting tired of dramatic confrontations and sighing and rolling your eyes like so many others do. You don't just figure out the truth, you have a compulsion to share it, and I know that the reactions you get hurt a lot. I'm still really sorry I let my ego take over so that I attacked you years ago. But I really needed to hear what you had to say. You were trying to help me, not insult me. Not a lot of people necessarily get that about you in the heat of shame. I don't think its because you're relentless or obnoxious about pointing out the truth, I think its that no one can get you to LIE about it, no matter how hard they try. You really do have an answer for everything. You're so smart about the psychology of people, and the tangled webs of thought we weave and trap ourselves in its scary. People feel naked around you once they realize you see through things, and carry scissors to cut through those thought webs and when a person doesn't want to face their shit-? Yeah- its hard to take.

I've tried to take a page out of your book and be more honest with people, and you're totally right, it invites rejection. So, if you don't want to say anything to people out in the world in order to get along, that's one thing. No matter what though-- I think you're right to not allow people to bring that shit into your home and personal sphere.
"

I thanked him for his perspective and humorous metaphoric explanations, and asked if I could quote our conversation (as best as I recall it, anyways) and he said sure, so here it is.
 

The conversation made me feel better, because it was very validating and made me feel understood. My friend made me laugh so hard at something that hurt me to much between us once! It was very healing. This is a case where forgiving an old enemy was absolutely justified and right to do. Hearing about how this dynamic works from the perspective of an enemy was... interesting. Made me feel a little pride even! I don't know that I want to keep at it, though. Maybe I'll just compulsively blurt out my observations to people forever, but I think I'm learning to prefer a more discreet approach.

I'm getting too old for this shit!

Anxiety Caused By Negative Reinforcement

blue rose moon (hope/faith)
Its been bugging me... why am I so anxious when things are going well in my life? I notice its especially strong right before I dare to make a change for the better. Its to the point of being obviously irrational-- so what gives?

I've been pondering this conundrum on and off for weeks because I keep expecting to rejoice in all our sacrifices paying off at last. And I DO enjoy things going my way at last, no mistake! Even my dreams are eagerly awaiting stepping into my new life. But I'm so damnably nervous! It makes no sense!

Except that it does.

Throughout my life, my daring to reach for things I want and even speaking my mind plainly, have been systematically and consistently punished. Over and over again, other people or bad luck intervene to prevent hard work, sacrifice, or innovation from EVER paying off. Its funny in a way, because the "American Dream" is to have opportunities to improve our lot in life this way, and yet look at how even the dream is ending in today's modern culture?

Point is, when I realized where the anxiety was coming from, I started to feel a little less crazy. Generalized anxiety is bad enough without being over-loaded with personal mythologies and superstitions arising from negative experiences in my past! And that's just it-- I've been massively unfortunate over the course of my life having my dreams dashed. Not because I deserved it, but just because shit happens. Sometimes due to vile people intervening to make sure I suffered more, and sometime due to bad decisions on my part, and sometimes due to rotten luck. The problem is, after things running to the negative for so much of my life, now I EXPECT shit to happen, even when I'm with trustworthy people and have remembered to dot my i's, cross my t's, and have several contingency plans ready to go.

My anxiety is stemming from an expectation of not only failing, but of being punished for even daring to think I deserved better than what I'd had most of my life. Again with my dreams of "the Pull Man" who takes away everything I have as retaliation for... for what exactly? For daring to not only want more, but to reach for it actively. What a downer! Yet my dreams seem on board, its conscious me who can't quite allow myself to believe it.

So... I don't believe it I guess. I think I can access my "suspension of belief" either for or against anything and just act as though I'm following through on an assignment or something. I can tell myself I don't need to rejoice just yet, but I don't need to dread either. Neither response brings about a change of reality. I don't dictate reality with my fears and hopes. I can only be watchful of reality and respond to it as I go.

I can see why Buddhists say its better to not allow yourself to be attached to the material world. Attachment means you can have things taken away from you which can bring pain. Yet my pagan leanings tell me that to live in the world, you must love the world. Ride the crazy snake of fortune and try to ebb and flow with its movements rather than be cast aside by them. I have been working towards an outcome that is about to happen, and I am afraid of it not happening after all I've put into it.

And that's okay. Its perfectly understandable, given my history, for me to be doubtful and fearful for the future. I've learned to harness my fears and use them to address various issues and cover my ass. I can redirect my fear towards remaining alert and ready for whatever happens. Life is not a painting, stuck in time-- its a movie, always shifting. I can have compassion for myself and what I've been through and where its landed me emotionally. And then I can just keep going anyways, because my stubborn refusal to give up and give in is another one of my super powers. =^)

Positive Omen Dreams

blue rose moon (hope/faith)
In the last couple of weeks, I've been getting dream after dream after dream-- always in the morning just before I awaken-- of being happy, of being financially secure, of being pleased with my home and life...

In one, for example, I was dancing to Madonna's "Material World" all dressed up in my living room and somehow ended up by the end of the song in a pile of gold coins!

In another, I was interviewing for a high-up magazine writing job with some famous paranormal writers-- and landing the job!

Fun dreams that have me waking up feeling hopeful and looking forward to changes coming up in my life. I'm astonished by how unrelentingly positive all these dreams are, and for how long I've been having them.

Meanwhile, in the waking world, I'm a bit of a nervous wreck. SO many things going on-- packing and dealing with various issues before the closing can happen. Realizing that gardens are delayed. Digging up shrubs and small trees HERE (the landlord is going to pave over where we planted trees and said we could take them back) and keeping up with the care of over 50 potted plants on the back deck. Digging up the ponds and caring for the gold fish. Getting a forwarding address at a P.O. Box. Everyone's on edge, wanting to get on with it already, and we're a little snipey with one another right now. I don't think what's going on explains my nerves adequately, but it seems I am just that over-sensitive.

Its very odd to find myself in the position of my conscious, waking mind being all on edge and doubtful of good outcomes, while my subconscious is thrilled with where I'm going and looking ahead. Usually, the dreaming mind is behind the times-- dwelling upon themes and issues of the past. But right now, as I deal with the present bullshit, my subself is eagerly anticipating better times.

I suppose that shows some kind of mental progress! =^)

Former Circle Members Reaching Out To Me

blu rose
Despite all my ranting and whining many years ago when I was dealing with various dramas from my pagan Circle, most of the time things went well, and most of the people who left (either before or after the Circle disbanded) did so on good terms. The quiet and mature people didn't steal all the attention, however, and I was grateful for their presence, but rarely wrote about most of them very often.

Now a couple of the older former Circle members have found me somehow on Facebook and friended me! Awwww! Heart... melting..! One guy I'll call "DJ" since he used to be a rock n' roll radio DJ for a metro area in Washington, was a real character-- quiet but quirky, total type 5. The other was an older lady who was very sweet and artistic, who I'll call Sierra-- she was a Type 2 with a strong 4 line. Anyway, one contacted me a couple of weeks ago, and the other-- seeing my comments on the other's posts, then contacted me just this morning.

It feels good to know that many former members, and notably the most mature and sensible ones at that, think of me and the Circle very fondly. Enough to renew an acquaintanceship. That's heart-warming and really what I need to be reminded of now that I'm thinking of starting another pagan group of some kind this summer/autumn.

Hmm... probably a good thing we're on good terms... because, come to think of it, somewhere DJ has a pic of me (and many others) flashing him our breasts "Girls Gone Wild" style at one Sabbat Festival weekend on the beach, very much in the Dionysian manner of things, rather appropriately -- with copious wine and sensuous sharing. That's one of the two times in 10 years that we ever had the cops called on us! (The other time was when we were doing a ritual in a park next to a school and someone must have seen and become freaked out by our ritual wear...)

At this point though I doubt I'd care much if someone saw my younger, perkier boobage! Its rather nice to know I have something salacious in my past to blush about in my encroaching old age! =^D

Coyote Updates, Close Call This Morning

wow
About 2 weeks ago, our Sicilian Buttercup hen disappeared in the early morning. We knew what happened though-- its spring, the time of year coyotes are feeding pups and extra hungry. The only time I saw coyotes in the yard coming up to the chicken pen was last year in the spring. These things happen, especially given that we have 4 hens who like to just pop out of their not-tall-enough pen fencing.

This morning we had a close call with a pretty dark brown hen named "Mrs. Hat." (Don't ask. Its Darcy's chicken.) Gerick was outside drinking coffee and smoking, about to take off for work, when he saw what he thought was a cat running across the yard. He wasn't wearing his glasses, and so really couldn't tell much. Then he noticed it moving up towards the house-- again, didn't think much of it.

That is-- until he saw it start to go after the hen, who started running! He sprinted towards the coyote, who grabbed Mrs. Hat and started running off with her. It ran faster than Gerick of course and to the end of the yard and disappeared into the bushes. He came back out of breath and feeling terrible that he didn't realize what was going on in time to save Darcy's hen. He went to work utterly dejected.

The guys showed up at my door later to let me know that Mrs. Hat was back! She must of been dropped at some point. Her tail feathers are partly gone, and she had a couple of small holes in her backside courtesy of her adventures in a predator's mouth, but they treated the injuries and she seems fine. If she doesn't  get any infections, it appears she'll live to lay another day!

Again, I don't take it personally and hate the coyotes or anything. They're just doing what they're supposed to do. I get it. I just prefer they not do it with our chickens! Luckily this time the hen got away.
friendship
We realize we're not going to be able to see several friends we have regular contact with until our house warming party in late May/early June, so we're making an effort to say good-bye to everyone before we go.

Of course we had to make sure to touch base with Natasha & Kalden, our longtime neighbors, farming partners, and friends here at White Gables. They moved out last autumn before the new owners took over. Now they're living in Sandy in a nice rental home with small front and back yards. Its an adjustment. They left their cat Sadie with us when they moved, as the new place didn't allow pets-- and because Sadie stayed with us half the time anyways. She sort of adopted us as her second home, so her staying here wasn't a big deal (other than Gerick's cat being jealous, anyways.)

They stopped by for a few hours this afternoon, letting their 2 toddler daughters play in our big yard with rocks and sticks. We caught up on various and sundry personal news (overall everyone's doing great) and they talked about how much they missed the co-housing community, comparing it to the suburban neighborhood they're in now. They hope to one day be back to a small farm or very large garden situation when they're ready to buy property. I hope they get that chance someday, I really do. I don't think Natasha will ever be happy without big projects with lots of dirt to muck about in. She's a natural country girl-- and so's her oldest child.

We're going to stop by their place on Tuesday evening as well. Just to see what they're doing with their mostly vertical garden features they're using in their small yard and chat some more. It will be hard to know they're so far away after our move. They're reliable, steady, good people that were a comfort to have around and I have missed having them near-by. We have very similar values regarding being prepared for uncertain futures and the joys of homesteading. Plus, Natasha's extended family have always been very accepting and warm towards us, which is very nice.

I believe we'll be friends for many years to come. Maybe we only see one another a handful of times a year, but that's okay. Good people (especially open-minded, hard-working ones) are worth cultivating socially and keeping as close contacts. We have discussed trading harvest goodies with one another and comparing different gardening techniques as we go along in our mutual learning curves for our lifestyles. Its nice to have that kind of friendly support. They joined us in the co-housing community experiment more enthusiastically than anyone, except for Darcy & Tad perhaps. Without them, it would not have been as successful as it was, and I shall always be grateful our lives crossed paths. =^)
innocence
Everything is done for the Windy Firs property now-- everything. Except the exterior painting job that's required now to meet the appraisal value. Long story short, the appraisal didn't come up to what we offered, we could have made up the difference, but luckily didn't have to... Fannie Mae came down in price several thousand dollars instead! So we get to pay what we originally offered on the house before the bidding war broke out. YES! The only stipulation was that the faded paint job was not up to snuff, so it must be done at the seller's expense. All we need now is 3 dry days in a row for some hired contractors to get the job done and we can close the next day.

That makes things a little weird, since now we're dependent upon the weather to close a financial contract. How fitting. We managed to make a deal with our current landlords to stay at White Gables through the 15th of April, though, to give ourselves ample time to get everything done and not feel rushed. Once it became clear we weren't going to get things completed before the end of March, we made sure to buy ourselves some wiggle room. Luckily, our new landlords cooperated, so its all working out.

Meanwhile, we're hearing stories from other people who are trying to buy houses, like our landlords and several of Gerick's co-workers and even executives at his company who buy properties to manage as investments. Even the ones with early knowledge of new stuff on the market and 100% cash to put down are finding themselves pushed out with at least 5 offers made before they even get a foot in the door. Its crazy.

Nearly all of the investors they are competing with are from California.

There is a HUGE surge in people leaving that state and many, perhaps most, seem to be coming north. Things were a little hairy last summer, but with the spring, it seems real estate is going crazy right now. Which is understandable. Reports that much of California will be out of water-- completely-- within just a year seem to be pointing to a reason why. Anyone with brains and means is getting out while the getting's good.

We apparently made our move at the right time-- just barely.

I wonder how long this exodus will go on? California has a great number of people, despite regular leaks from that state going northwards since the 80s. That trickle has become a stream over the last decades as living standards in California have declined. But what's being seen now is more like a rushing torrent of people. But who can blame them? If there's no water left for drinking soon-- you can't live in a total desert attempting to share what tiny bits of water may or may not fall from the skies. The infrastructure of California requires much more water than its getting now...

Apparently, scientists have been able to determine that the last 200 or so years of relatively stable levels of water in most of central and southern California is something of an anomaly. Normal weather for most of California's history and pre-history it was more of a desert climate. Now, combine the pendulum swinging back towards a more normal rain pattern with Global Climate Change and we have a very bad problem on our hands.

Most of the fruits and vegetables and even many nuts Americans eat come from that super produce state. How will this affect prices in another year or two as suddenly the supplies of food are cut off from there? One shudders to think. Having a garden is starting to look more and more intelligent, though, that's for sure.

The Pacific Northwest has been a haven of mild weather in comparison to most of the nation, but now that very fact is drawing ever higher numbers of people from other states. And there are some grim consequences for that as we're starting to see now.  Higher housing prices, higher rents, higher food prices.

Lately, when I allow myself to take a breath and think things through, I realize I have a hard time digesting mentally the actual numbers of people we can expect from a mass exodus out of California. I'm sure, despite the desperation of things, many will hold onto crazy hope that the rain will return, despite all evidence to the contrary. Others will be stuck and find that getting out is impossible. I'm trying to imagine drought refugees like the Oakies of the dust bowl era. The people with money, family or friends in other states, or even just a bus ticket, no dependents, and a plan will get out easily. But what about those who lack all those things? I think this is an evolving story that will see some repeats of the 30s returning into our collective story as a people.

I'm a little freaked out, frankly, that we made it just under the deadline. The fracking bubble is busting up even as we speak. Weather is going nuts everywhere in this really obvious way. And California is about to go from the biggest asset in the country to its greatest liability. Jezus, that was close!

And our adventures are just beginning...

A Year Passes Since My Last Cold

under water
I'm suffering from a terrible cold. One that everyone else who has had it shrugged off with some sniffles. I'm totally wiped out by this thing...

The amazingly good news is that its the first viral illness I've had since last spring. I've gone a YEAR without getting anything more than allergies or a mildly upset digestive system. Usually, even if I'm very careful, I get a cold or strep throat or something by late fall, then again 2 or 3 times during the winter thru early spring. This is the longest I've gone without getting ill since I first got struck down by mono and whatever else when I was 13. Since then, I've been battling various issues. But this last flu and cold season I've sailed by-- until now.

So I'm trying to bear with it as best I can and hope it doesn't lead to complications like an ear infection or chest congestion.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to take stock of what I might be doing RIGHT. The only thing I've done in the last year that's different than other years is take SAM-e. I take it mainly to make up for what's lacking in my body that leads to body aches (especially in the morning.) But it also helps to regulate mood and boosts the immune system. Well, the results speak for themselves. My immune system seems to be kicking ass in comparison to most years. Let's hope I ditch this 3-day cold in less than 3 weeks-- which is my usual time for beating a cold. Like I said before, my natural immune system really SUCKS.

I just wish the stuff wasn't so darned expensive...

[LATER EDIT: I just realized that I did have some small something for a couple of days in September. Upset stomach, nausea, fever... So, let's amend my claim from a year to 6 months. Oh well... that's still pretty good!]

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Flame Troll Attack Over Book Possibility

die die
My book announcement brought out my first anonymous flame troll in a LONG time. Like-- years!

They offered a long and insulting set of accusations, essentially saying that my writing a book is just proof that I'm a money-grubbing jerk "like all those other paranormal people." And that they believed me before, but now-- well, not so much. And also that they were going to tell the "dozens" of people who they turned onto my blog to just stop reading it-- because you know people totally do what this person tells them or something..!

Eye-yi-yi! *rolls eyes*

Of course, I have some enemies, and it could always be one of them-- but I know there are people who go around trying to insult others just for kicks who don't even believe what they're saying. They just say what they think will upset the blog writer the most. I actually know a couple of people who go to internet cafes and browse around finding various blogs to just flame for shits and giggles. They're mostly overblown type 8s who get bored very easily and like being bullies because they don't have enough power and authority in their offline lives.


For the record: I'm not going to stop having totally free blogs that won't cost a cent-- other than what it takes to get on the internet and have some instrument that can navigate it anyways. I'll continue them, not delete them and force people to pay to hear what I have to say! On the off chance the troll was semi-sincere and worried about that-- there's no reason for that. I'm sharing for free forever if I can. In fact, any book I write will have the free blogs site addresses included, so people can browse around and keep up with any updates, etc.

The book is just going to be a polished up (less rants and less cussing) more organized version of what I've already written in my paranormal blog-- specifically the alien abductions. I don't know that the sales will be much. I don't care, really. I DO want to have the chance to actually challenge myself to go through the process of it. And I'm not going to apologize for what little money I'm likely to get. I'm not rich. We're barely scratching the surface of middle class, and most of my life I've been working class-- and even fallen below the poverty line numerous times. So-- yeah. A little bit of income from those who prefer a book format (and to begin with, a very cheap, downloadable ebook, likely only a dollar or two) is hardly taking advantage of my circumstances. I've suffered and struggled most of my life to just do something so simple as going to the grocery store without having a panic attack, so maybe getting some funds to make up for what's been spent in medications and therapy might be nice! =^)

I'm not out to take advantage of anyone. The very idea is absurd. Like I'm going hold a gun to people's head and make them pay up? Many busy people don't have the time to scrounge around my reams and reams of words to find the core stories I've been sharing as I go. I know this because I've been one of those people. For those who prefer the regular blog format-- no issues. I'm not going to leave things out of my blog that get included in the book-- more like the other way around. Blog readers will still have the advantage, because I do want what I'm sharing to be easily accessible.

In addition, I'm not writing any of my experiences in the paranormal realm to convince anyone of anything. I literally DO NOT CARE if any person believes me. In fact, I expect NOT to be believed and had to learn a long time ago to just get comfy with that. If someone does take me seriously, that's a gift and a privilege, not a goal. Mainly I write for other people who also undergo these often frightening and confusing encounters. I've said this repeatedly. If a skeptical outsider comes in and considers things and throws their hands up and walks away-- I'm so totally cool with that! I have to be; to be otherwise is to invite fruitless frustration!

As for these "dozens" of people who supposedly are fans because Anonymous Troll turned them on to me-- that's a goodly chunk of my total numbers. My site has had some steady traffic. A couple of posts got up to 600+ unique views, but in general its well below 150 readers per post in my paranormal one (a few more if one counts the Russian translation, but I'm not sure of numbers there) and only about 40 or so for this personal blog. The person who wrote apparently comes from a rather small town in an isolated place, so I'd be truly shocked if they were telling the truth. But I feel confident most of the claims were gratuitous exaggerations to say the least!

On another level, being up and down in status so many times in my life has taught me a grim lesson: there are people who will smack you for being successful, and people who will relish putting you down even further when you're already down. There are just some very bitter individuals who like looking outside themselves and projecting all their own inner misery on the rest of the world.

Given that I have such a pathetically small number of readers, and also that alien abductions are something certain quasi-military groups seem intent on keeping under wraps, there is ALSO the tiniest of possibilities that an agent is trying to shut me up, because books tend to get more exposure than blogs. That's pretty exciting, actually. I almost hope that's the answer. It seems so much more seemly than some sweaty underachiever dumping on me from a basement somewhere, you know?

I know the general advice is not to feed the trolls by even giving them the slightest bit of attention, but in this case-- what the hell? And no, I'm not going to let them use my comments section as a free for all to insult me. No one sane allows that! That's what comment moderation is all about. This is MY blog, and I am Queen here, baby! Don't like it-- then begone from my realm!

Book Deal!

Lucretia tripping
A friend of mine who is a published author and illustrator turned his publisher on to my paranormal blog "At Spiral's End" and now I am being offered a book deal if I take that material and polish it up for publishing!

That's amazing on several fronts.

For one, having a friend so cool as to tell his own publisher that my stuff is worth being considered. That's a real friend!

For another, realizing that my casual material just put out there with cussing and the rest is STILL good enough that a publisher was duly impressed to the point of offering me a deal!

Okay, I'm glowing a little here. Can't quite help myself...

I just have to FINISH my memories in my original blog including my early 20s and then- bam! I can get to work on consolidating and prettifying up my material for publication. To begin with, in ebook format-- but if sales are high enough, perhaps more.

This is absolutely wonderful, and just the kick in the ass I needed (you know, with furry, squishy boots!) to help me focus my energies. Once we're moved, I'm going to dedicate a portion of every day (other than flare days) to writing not just blogs, but my first official book!

I've had a few magazine articles published, but nothing like this. I'm pretty stoked. =^D

Dream of Bridal Blessing Ritual

Blue Sun (transf/transc)
This morning I awoke from a long, involved dream-- and was grateful for it. It was beautiful!

I dreamt I was a priestess again. A lady was getting married in my pagan circle, and instead of a normal bridal shower or bachelorette party, we had a special Bridal Blessing Ritual.

The evening started with the bride-to-be, her mother, and some friends and myself on top of a meadow at night on a full moon before her wedding. We were all dressed in light gray except for the bride and myself-- we were both dressed in white to receive the moon's blessings.

Upon the ground was a silver (shiny stainless steel actually) bowl-- huge like a punch bowl. It was full of spring water. We all stood around it, looking into the calm water, which reflected the full moon above our heads. Everyone took a turn "stepping over the moon" and then surrounded the bride, her mother, and myself.

The bride came forward, I dipped my fingers into the water, and then I anointed her hands, feet, and forehead with it, saying words about the moon's blessing. Then I pulled out a silver shawl, held it over the water, and then passed it to her mother. When the bride stepped over the bowl, she did so into the waiting arms of her mother, who wrapped her daughter the soon-to-be-bride in the shawl, especially her head and shoulders, and embraced her.

Then it was time for her to be blessed by her mother and friends, now that the moon had done so! It began with the mother, went around the circle of friends, as the bride was passed along, person to person. Each one had anointed their own lips with a nice floral smelling oil, and then they kissed the bride on her cheeks, hands, shoulders-- her best friend even jokingly kissed her ass! Everyone was starting to laugh at this point. When the bride made it back around to me, I finished with an official kiss on the top of her head (crown chakra.)

Then 2 of the brides best friends stepped forward and each took a hand and led her down the hill to the house-- which conveniently had a pool! We all stripped down there and took a skinny dip, and the party portion of the ceremony began, with much silliness. After we got out of the pool for food, it was gift giving and opening time, and more like a modern bridal shower.

That was the ceremony! Nothing too complicated, but with a nice personal touch and fun-- yet still acknowledging the sacred, holy parts of preparing for marriage.

My Jester Tells His Back Story As A Piper

music
Just woke up from a rather remarkable dream. I have recurring characters in my repetoire of dream people, and one of them is this magical, mystical, whimsical Jester guy. He looks like a mixture between Johnny Depp in Alice In Wonderland (as the Mad Hatter) and Cillian Murphy. I now know what he goes by... he's "The Piper."

He's the guy who showed up at a Renn faire in a couple of dreams. One time he gave me a coin with a toad on one side and a lyre on the other. In another dream, he and I walked around a strange town by the sea shore that was built against a hill (going down towards the ocean on one side and up against the hills on the other.) We were just being silly and having fun in that dream, and it was almost like being in love, only it wasn't a romantic thing. Hard to explain.

This time, I went back in time to the 1950s and across the sea to Ireland. The Piper was telling me a story-- his story. He was a very talented and clever musician, and everyone thought his skills were blessed or magic or something, and he traveled from town to town inspiring the dancers and singers and musicians in the children of the town to take up their love of music and bring that joy out. I got to play several of these children in this part of the story, and I sang and sang and danced and played various types of instruments, all the time connecting to this... joy... that was so powerful.

But some crusty old men who didn't like all the nonsense wanted to stop this 'inspiring the young' thing. He was leading people to waste their time in their opinion. They came up with a plan to trap and stop The Piper. They threw a huge music festival, with several towns participating-- and of course The Piper came! Everyone was excited and music was everywhere. The nasty old men kidnapped The Piper by trapping him in a pub where everyone was drinking after a successful first day of festival.

The next day The Piper had the hood taken off and he found himself in a rural area of sheep folds, far from the festival. The crusty men decided to take a break on their way to the place they were going to imprison (or kill?) The Piper-- they asked him to play them some music. The Piper, once his ropes were taken off, reached for his magical pipe and played it-- and it made some awful screeching noises and then seemed to go silent. The old men cried out and said that his instrument didn't work, pulled it away and tossed it aside and gave The Piper a new set of pipes. The Piper was okay with this, for his magic pipe was a special dog whistle that called his totem animal friends-- basically every Irish Wolfhound in existence!-- to his aid. He knew help would soon be coming.

Meanwhile, down in the towns as the music festival went on, the children couldn't understand where The Piper went. But when every wolfhound in town stopped suddenly, bayed, and then loped off into the same direction, the children knew what it meant. Several of the adult in the towns who were inspired in their love of music by The Piper also knew, and soon a mob of people was following the wolfhounds to rescue their musical, magical, whimsical friend! They sang and danced as they walked-- and one could hear the sound they made echoing over the hills. The Piper had better hearing than most and heard the baying of the wolfhounds and the singing and drums of the people.

But he didn't need their help as it turned out. He was using his free voice and hands to play sad music for the crusty old men, who were now crying. He was reminding them of when they loved music too and how the crusty old men in their lives (generally fathers, uncles, priests, and teachers) shamed them out of that love, and turned them into bitter people, compromised and now even criminal. They were getting ready to release The Piper, realizing their mistake, just as the wolfhounds arrived, acting like puppies, jumping on the old men and slurping great doggie kisses on them until the crying men were laughing.

This was how the people from several towns found their beloved Piper and his kidnappers. They cheered when they saw the magic man unharmed-- and rather than return to town, the music festival was moved to that very spot, surrounded by fields, stone walls, and sheep aplenty. It was the best festival they'd ever had.

As I stepped out from playing another character in the story, I looked at The Piper and I realized that his gift in my life was the ability to not only have fun, but to connect to pure JOY. Too often, the dark people and circumstances of life try (and often succeed) in robbing us of the very thing that makes life worth living. I thanked my Jester/Piper as the dream faded out and I began to awaken. Even his lessons are amazing journeys of whimsy, and I knew he was letting me know that he's going to help me reconnect with joy in the months ahead of me. I was touched that this inner character, a part of me, but maybe a part of Divinity as well, would help me to get back to where I can enjoy singing and playing. I already do dance and play quite a bit, but there is still a Crusty Old Man inside me I have to keep fighting.

Now at least I know I'm not alone in that fight.

Getting Ready To Embrace Move To Windy Firs

beautiful fields
I'm starting to believe that I'm actually moving to a home I want in a place that I can love. On a hill, by a forest, over-looking a river valley, open to the wind...

Its funny to me that its such a struggle, but its still a challenge for me to believe in good outcomes. So often, some nasty thing can come hurtling at me from out of the blue (witness last weekend's friend dumping) despite my best, most conscientious efforts. It shakes up a person's confidence, especially coming from a financially unstable, working class family, with abuse and neglect issues. Such things tend to wire a young person's brain to expect disaster around every corner. No doubt regular readers have long noted my comfort with dark issues!

Yet despite that programming, I had some long-term goals set with my husband and we plodded along and then searched until we found a situation to our liking. Now we're about to reap the rewards of a 6-year long set of sacrifices. Its hard to believe the moment is finally almost upon us.

We got news that the turn around times for processing paperwork have only been 48 hours lately as opposed to several days, so we may close as soon as the end of this coming week! That would be amazing, as it would give us OVER a week to move and clean up behind ourselves. The guys would have plenty of time to hire the movers of their Tiny House. And we would not have to scramble last minute like I was originally expecting.

I've been packing, of course. Books mostly (SO many books!) and going through clothes and decor, etc. One thing about moving now is that I realize how much I hate moving! I may love checking out new locations, but I loathe packing, moving, and unpacking. Realizing this is an actual home (not an apartment) with a private yard, and that we'll likely be there for quite a while, maybe the rest of our lives, is offering me some real comfort. We'll have plenty to do, and I know the first 2 years we're there the property will be utterly transformed-- but knowing that I won't have to walk away from it all--? Wonderful on a level you can't believe.

No shared walls! No worrying about the TV or music being too loud! No worrying about making too much noise singing or dancing! Being able to decorate and paint any way we like! Gardens and chickens not an issue! Plenty of room for overnight guests and entertaining! Wheeeeee!

Needless to say, I'm not hurting as much about saying good-bye to White Gables lately. Which I take as a sign that I've finished the mourning period and am moving on to celebrating the change that is coming very soon.

One other note-- I'll be off-line for a while soon as we get our services switched over. I'll keep a running diary on my laptop in the meantime, and load it as back-dated journal posts once I'm plugged in again. So if I disappear for a couple of weeks, don't panic! It should be at least another week before I go radio silent, and I'll make an official post about it beforehand.
C'est moi
We live in a culture that seems to advocate personal projections over objective reality.

Its no surprise. Everyone thinks they're special and that their own judgment must therefore be perfect and beyond question. Okay, maybe not everyone, but a sizable percentage of the population suffer from at least some limited form of narcissism. I've also come across a lot of people who have parents who are narcissists who think that such high self-expectations of infallibility are normal, even if they don't live up the extreme versions of it they see in their own parents. Point is, there are a LOT of people out there assessing reality and coming up short who won't allow themselves to take a second and third look to weigh their own guesses about things for accuracy.

That's where I come in! LOL!!

I am the friend you turn to when you want a reality check. And I will take that task very seriously indeed. I have lived most of my life in doubt of one thing or another and really learned how to find and nail down the most likely accurate answer. I have many shortcomings, but THIS-? Its my gift.

That's a big difference between me and most people you meet. Most people are personally invested in being RIGHT. They grab the first thing that makes a little bit of sense without much thought, then hang on with all their might and refuse to consider alternatives. To do otherwise would mean taking the ego hit by admitting being wrong to begin with, or even just being capable of being wrong. And narcissists can't handle even the idea that THEY could possible err-- to maintain the illusion of perfection, they block out any contradiction.

Me-? I tend to hold back before rushing to an answer. I don't want to be right, I want to be CORRECT. There's a difference. I start off from a place of doubt. I'm the one who says, "Wait... wait... now let's all hold on here and think this issue through." Then I go on a search. I begin with the notion that I'm likely to be missing something. I also tend to believe that everyone else is likely to be missing something as well. I'm not readily impressed by so-called 'experts' because I've been repeatedly disappointed by them. They're as likely (if not more likely) to jump to conclusions that bolster their pet theories.

My initial doubt of things is not a personal judgment of a specific person's discernment so much as it is an acknowledgment that more information is better before declaring one absolutely knows for sure what is what. A lot of people's egos are very tender at the slightest hint that anyone doubts them for a second, which is where I DO rub people the wrong way. I listen with an open mind to anything they say, but then I always-- and I mean always if I care even a little!-- then dig deep to do some double checking. I do this to myself, reflexively, so I often don't instinctively know why people get so bent out of shape when I look into things. It means for one that I am really actively listening to them and taking everything they say very seriously indeed. I'm not just dismissively shrugging and assuming and walking on.

In a culture dominated by narcissists, however, MOST people have learned that shrugging and pretending to agree is how you placate others with an opinion and ego-attachment to that opinion.

I get it. I do -- I really do. I am the annoying friend or co-worker who bucks that trend, however, and because of it, I face a LOT of flak at times. It would be easier to just nod along with everyone else.

So what stops me-? Apart from plain stubbornness? (Which I will confess to-- I definitely have a compulsive need to check things because I really want to know the correct answer! Out of curiosity if nothing else.)

What fuels my openness to contradiction is concern about what happens when someone is wrong. Eventually, the truth-- the objective, accurate truth-- has a tendency to come out, but it can take years, or even decades. One can lose so much precious time if they're wrong, time better spent in living a higher quality of life. Aside from lost time to address the problem that needs help, inaccurate assessments can also mean direct harm is caused when the wrong answer is applied. When I care about people, I don't want them to suffer for a simple mistake! And it happens all the time!

Isn't it worth taking a step back to double-check? I think so.

Reality checking isn't just about figuring out what's wrong, though-- its also about how to deal with whatever that answer may be.

Too often, people give the "sounds good, feels good" platitudes of reassurance that I find to be empty, hollow, and useless. Who feels heard, understood, and advocated for just hearing what's the easiest thing (for most) to say of "Don't worry, be happy?"

I'm not that person, and I don't think I will ever be. Life has punched me too many times to be able to brush off dark news. I'm the friend who will sit down, hold your hand, and say, "Okay. this sucks. I'm so sorry you have to deal with this. I know how bad you may be feeling right now." But I'm not a fair weather friend who will run from that reality, no matter how scary. Dark physical or mental illness diagnosis? I'm there, I can handle it. I won't run away when people I care about struggle with the types of issues that seems to render most friends and family members AWOL. And let's face it, running away from bad news is how most people deal-- especially if it isn't their own personal problem.

Because not only are we a narcissistic culture, we are a shallow one that can't seem to handle bad news. Too many of us actually believe that thinking positively can keep the beast at bay, only to be blown over in shock when reality demonstrates otherwise.

I've had a rough life, but I have learned some valuable coping skills along the way, and I share those with anyone in my sphere who needs some solid support. Because I'm not afraid of the darkness in life, I'm not afraid of the darkness within myself either. I can't help but laugh when I'm misunderstood and told that I'm not aware of my own dark motives. Trust me-- I AM. My Shadow and I hold hands and dance every day. Every bit of inner ugliness is within my conscious awareness, to the point I've learned to be comfortable and unafraid to be aware of myself on every level.

So I'm confident that I'm not trying to secretly hurt anyone when I look at things realistically and face that reality head on. No, I don't coo out empty platitudes of sympathy, granted. I am the strong and outspoken one by your side who will walk with you through the dark valley of whatever it is that scares you. I want to solve the problem, or deal with it-- not pretend its no big deal and ignore it. I won't drop a bomb on a person and walk away-! I am the one who says, "Okay, here is the situation. Now let's come up with a strategy to make things better."

Often, its not my place to come up with a solution or strategy for something once its know what is actually going on, but I'll find out what the person wants or needs and where I may or may not come in. Sometimes, I just need to butt out and offer the other party space and time. That's okay. Sometimes, they want my direct assistance. Sometimes, we have ourselves a discussion about how they want me to support them. Generally, all this can be balanced out with reasonable adult discourse. I've rarely found it to be much of an issue, so long as the other party does not misunderstand my motives.

Unfortunately, because I do buck the trends in our culture on several counts, my motives are often misunderstood by people who are not inclined to buck them much themselves. It can be very frustrating to explain myself in such cases, because often it means facing a very stark hypocrisy within the people who take issue with my approach.

My reality checks are an act of love. Both before a problem is figured out and afterwards. I'm not attacking a person if I don't wholeheartedly agree with them right away. I'm not trying to hurt anyone when I say, "This sounds pretty tough to deal with, and I'm not happy you have to deal with it." I'm trying to help-- REALLY help. I base this on what has helped me and others I know, and on what has harmed me and others I know. What most people seem to practice harms more than it helps, whether they want to admit it to themselves or not. While to begin with, I may seem harsh in some respects (especially in comparison to the cooing pity-party types) I am genuinely doing what I've learned works in the real world where darkness comes in to steal our light away. It sucks, but we can deal with it and go on to live very happy and productive lives. Even in a worst-case scenario where death is coming, there are better and worse ways to face it. But make no mistake-- I'm the type that faces whatever it is that's going on, determined to find the best way to react to whatever Fate is throwing at us.

Anyone who really knows me knows THIS about me.

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Tiny House Update 1st Week of March

mrg thrilled
I wanted to post more pics of how things are progressing with the Tiny House!

Like I said, plumbing is nearly done-- the hot water heater and faucets will go in after the counters. Electric is-- DONE! All switches and outlets are in! This week the insulation is the big thing, followed by starting on drywall or paneling.

But I didn't post all my stuff from previous steps, so here are past moments that should not be forgotten.


First up, the delivery of the Tiny House on Valentine's Day!

thaa

What you can't see off camera is 4 adults grinning like goons and even jumping up and down in glee! We were waiting at the end of the drive for the delivery, and when we saw it coming at last, we went bananas!

Here, we see Tad and Darcy looking it over once the Tiny House was situated in its temporary spot in the White Gables parking lot:
thae
This is an excellent shot, because it gives pretty good perspective on the size of the house. The outside is totally finished, except they may add a small outside locker and then use leftover siding from the outside so it matches. Oh, and they now have an outside light fixture by the front door on that tiny porch.

Here's an interior shot of that adorable window in what will soon be the sleeping loft and a detail shot of plumbing work:

thab thad

Finally, an interior shot of the begining of the plumbing work and bathroom walls being built. Yes, that's a half a wine barrel:

thac
This faces the back and the loft above there will be the "hang out" lounge zone. Since this shot was taken, the walls have come much further and electric's been put in.

More pics as we go along!
worship
I know, I know-- I'm a terrible fangirl. I'm going to discuss another Greer post-- this time from his esoteric blog, The Wall of Galabes.

Link to post in question here:

galabes.blogspot.com/2015/02/changing-of-gods.html

The topic of discussion is Religion. I love the beginning:

"I’m thinking just now of a conversation I had just after a class session of my first comparative religions course at the University of Washington in Seattle. The teaching assistant who taught the course—real professors were already starting to think of themselves as above such things—spent most of an hour talking about theories that claimed to explain why people have religions. There were sociological theories, psychological theories, linguistic theories, and so on, all trying to explain why it was that people in so many different cultures and eras around the world had the curious habit of religious faith.


There were quite a few of these theories, and some of them deployed a great deal of intellectual ingenuity in finding an explanation for religion, but I was sufficiently naive in those days to be startled that one obvious possibility had been left off the list. So I went up to the teaching assistant after the class, and commented that people all through history have reported religious experiences: that is to say, experiences of personal contact and interaction with what seemed to them to be disembodied, superhuman intelligent beings, that is to say, gods and goddesses. Might it be reasonable to suggest, I ventured, that religion might be the normal and logical human response to those experiences?

That got me a wide-eyed look of alarm, which I mistook for an expression of interest, and warmed to my subject. All the theories he’d discussed, I suggested, were like theories about why human beings go hunting that neglect the possibility that game animals might exist. Hunting includes phenomena that can be explained usefull in sociological, psychological, linguistic, and other terms, to be sure, but trying to explain all of hunting in those terms, without reference to the behavior and edibility of game animals, is going to miss some things that arguably ought to be taken into account.

The teaching assistant was not impressed by this line of reasoning. “That’s not a valid comparison,” he huffed, and then shook himself like a dog who’s been drenched in ditch water, and headed for the door.

That’s the kind of response that usually comes up when it’s suggested, by those few individuals willing to say something that shocking in public, that the fact that nearly all human cultures have religions might have something to do with the fact that a fairly large fraction of human beings—up to a third, according to some surveys—have had experiences that certainly look like contact with disembodied intelligent beings of various kinds. Contemporary industrial culture insists that such beings do not, cannot, and must not exist, and so has to explain away the fact that people just keep on seeing them, talking to them, and receiving certain noticeable benefits from those interactions."


LOVE it!

The idea that religion springs up universally among humans as a way to attempt to explain and incorporate paranormal experiences into the rest of human experience is so self-evident. Talk about Occam's Razor! And yet, because we are mainly an irreverent culture currently, which is anti-religious (of spiritual matters, our mainstream culture worships "progress" towards a better and better future) the main authorities of our age can't quite conceive of such an pathetically obvious answer.

I could comment further, but I think this bit all by itself is pretty perfect as it is.

Sims 3 With Reese & Tiny House Plumbing

hairfuss
It appears another soul has been sucked into oblivion...

Reese bought the basic Sims 3 game!

Neither of us was feeling all that great today, so she opted to come over and parallel play with me via her laptop and a game. Its been a while since I've had a fellow enthusiast to muck around with-- ever since Emma left for her grad degree in southern Oregon I've played without any buddies. That's been a couple of years. Today, I helped Reese navigate the Sims homepage and told her where all the free goodies were, like the Rivertown neighborhood and the holiday stuff in the store for free. Then, while she played a game I went ahead and uploaded a bunch of Sims I had made I thought she might like-- of me and some mutual friends as well as some celebrities (like Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock!) that I improved from other people's downloads.

Meanwhile, Gerick was out most of the day helping Darcy with putting in the plumbing lines for the Tiny House parked outside. It looks like they have a guy coming to help them get most of the electric done in one day next weekend. Which means it appears they really will be done by the end of March when we move. How perfect is that? If they're not done, no big-- Windy Firs is large enough to accommodate them temporarily with no issues. I'm pretty sure they won't need to board with us, though-- not at the clip they're going at.

I wish I felt better and could enjoy this process a little more. Some health issues are definitely getting in the way right now with pain and fatigue flares. Allergy season is early this year due to our short and mild winter, and so it seems I must face the consequences of climate's wild ride right now. I'm well aware that it could be worse, and I could be dealing with yet another especially harsh winter and bone aches thereof-- so I swear I won't bitch too much.

And so, some mild household chores, Sims 3, and company to hang with were my Saturday. I was glad of the company and caught up with all the news. It appears Reese herself may be moving north towards the Battleground area of Washington, not too far from where I'll be living. Due to the sudden influx of California drought refugees, once more housing in the Portland area is growing ever more scarce and expensive, and long-time residents are being pushed out (mostly east and north). I know that's why we had to move an hour away to even find something decent we could afford. I know we're not the only ones, obviously because even an hour out the competition is getting ridiculous! Still, it'll be nice to have a few friends closer by than I anticipated originally.

I also spoke with Cat for a while this morning and brought up the idea of her buying the house next door to Windy Firs someday or something else across the street or something. She was actually very open to the idea. She's thinking about her future when her mother will need adult-assisted living and Cat herself won't be able to keep up their current place, which is really too big for them.

A lot of co-housing communities start with friends and/or family buying properties next to each other and then sharing land and projects. It might just be a workable goal for us. Other friends who are already doing what we're doing may also be interested (like Natasha and Kalden) so who knows?

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