Wednesday, October 01, 2014

lest you thought i forgot you, or was slowing down on the Tiny Step Initiative…nope.  just trying to fit everything in to the time before work AND make sure Henry has his energy diffused or DEfused!  so it's been tiny half-steps…mostly i've been bringing Hen's BFF over in the morning so they can run and tussle out back together.  They need watching to make certain no one ends up at the vet.  Henry has perfect camo in the leaves...





 i've been organizing my art supplies for the switchover, and have to admit it's a bit overwhelming.  so that's been moving slowly…but moving.  i've been weirdly tired…almost falling asleep at work, and hope it's just the season's changing, or perhaps a touch of a cold.  Sunday's kayak adventure still replays in my mind, with the sweet, calming smell of balsam coming back to remind me of a perfect day.  no time to drop off paints today, but definitely tomorrow.  deciding on the shelves.  i know - i'm boring you.  told you i was weirdly tired.  okay, lunch and to work…meet you back here tomorrow or maybe later!

Monday, September 29, 2014

in my inbox, and Power Tools

"Linda, if you know what you want; if you've made up your mind; if you can see it, feel it, and move toward it in some small way every single day…it has to happen. xxxooo  Linda, move toward it in some small way every single day."
from TUT
Someone's been looking in my window :)
Now, I know that every single person that subscribes to TUT got the same sentiment, but does that lessen it's power…it's meaning…it's downright thunk-in-the-heart assurance?  things are what we make them…a feather found is just a feather found, unless we imbue it with power.  every single thing in our lives - yes, and people too - only have the power we give them.  take money, for example - there are many women who do not have access to the family money…their husband/boyfriend/trust manager keeps a lock on it, and they must ask for every nickel.  in that case, money can be given power.  for a woman who has unlimited access to money, it can be a tool to purchase, or to help or to just move about the day.  so every thing in our lives, or our lives wished for, can only have the power we give it…people, places, animals, thing, rock, paper, scissors - oh, sorry.  that includes emotions….anger directed at us can only wound as deep as we let it…likewise love or peacefulness.  WE are the ones who give the power to the thing.  i wanted to clean my Perfect Stepdaughter's room a while back when she actually lived here, but i knew there may be things in there that looked like junk to (even) me, but were special to her.  sure enough…some lint that was on her dresser belonged to a very special blanket from a very special 4-legged who was gone.  i am SO SO glad i didn't scoop it away.  that lint held power for her.
so my life has been held at bay while i stood in the center of indecision and clutter.  i stepped out at the 12-o'clock position of the circle, made everything line up as it may, and have dealt with each and every thing as it was presented next in line…small steps…or Tiny Steps…one day it may be to look at land, the next day to clear clutter from a closet, and the next day spend time in the woods working out an emotional attachment to a thing or clear something from my core that i no longer want there.  we drag this shit around like a woobie blanket…we are no longer our 7th grade selves.  and most importantly - We control the power these things have, and the power we allow them to have.
My studio has been a source of cement for some time - it has kept my feet stuck in the same spot for many many years.  why?  because my studio is larger than any Tiny House I might design or live in.  so even before the Tiny House idea, i couldn't imagine finding a place i could afford that would allow for the space i needed for all this Stuff.  so it grew moss on me.  well, time to get my life on, and i am keeping the Stuff that is irreplaceable, or very expensive to replace IF i actually use it, and aside from the basics…out.  plus, i found and rented a studio space, so now my art supplies can have their own Tiny House, and I have a place to hold workshops for money!  winner winner chicken dinner!
i have some amazing Kayaking and fall foliage stories to tell you, but now it's time to play with my favorite thing: Henry!
You got the POWER, baby!


and just for fun…

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Best Day….ADK foliage and friends….what a buzz!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

This is amazing!  and has been right under my nose! it is the week before the art retreat i used to go to…easy peasy! and it's held in The Best Place on Earth…Rockywold Deephaven Camps.  I am certain that God sleeps here.  i love it so much that i've requested my ashes be scattered there, when the time comes.  (not before).

this morning was a particular brand of perfect that is only found in early fall…Henry and I went for an early walk through the woods…fog sat low on the ground - clouds come to earth, and the air was cool which made for a snuggle in my favorite hooded sweatshirt.  the woods were filled with sounds of woodpeckers and crows…leaves have begun to fall somewhat half-heartedly, and the lake has turned a spectacular shade of turquoise.  geese stage up and leave for the season.  i'm hoping to capture my injured duck soon and get her to rehab.  she's wily, though, and will have food till the lake freezes.  there's a Great Blue Heron that hangs with her.  the smell of early woodsmoke was in the air - nights are cold now, with an actual freeze the other night.  the sun slanted through the trees, making everything magically lit.

every morning is such a surge of gratitude, it must flow out of my pores!

oh hella yeah -



Tuesday, September 23, 2014

my Tiny Step for today is to call a friend who has a Tiny log cabin near here.  I just remembered she lived in one!
http://www.bluemoonrising.org just sayin a trip here may be well worth it…just to see Tiny in practice. to see what works and what works well and design ideas and all that stuff.  These don't move, so the bonus is running water (!) with some oomph to it - a thought that has been on my mind. i do love me a hot shower.
funny thing…i am paring down Many Large closets (6'x10' walk ins), and trying to get it down to 1 small broom closet size for my clothes.  1 closet and 3 dresser drawers.  that's my goal.  my closet is becoming full, with the one hanging rod, and last night i started feeling like i had way too much stuff…such an odd thought for me.  i'm usually the one who gets a gold medal in the sport of shopping.  but i felt closed in by, well, the clothes!  i still have way way more than i need, and am finding a weird, lingering attachment to some of the stuff.  i realize i could easily become a hoarder.  in my art studio, there are Things on every surface…bunnies, tiny glass vases in all colors, rocks, etc.  So it's obvious that i will need a separate place for my art studio.  not just for the knick knacks, but for the Real Stuff.
But back to Blue Moon Rising.  I looked carefully at each of the floor plans, and realized that i need more space for entertaining (such as it will be!) than i need for day-to-day living.  a loft bedroom is a must.  but i want the rest of the main floor to be convertible into a dining room and then living room…i LOVE girls movie night, and love to have people over to eat.  so those will be my priorities.  and some of the Tiny's in the Blue Moon have exactly that.  feeling a bit better about it.  still not 100% certain which way i'll go, and i think Michelle is right about visiting both, if you can, before deciding.
ok - Henry is having a burst of energy which can only mean it's go visit the duck time.
wishing you Tiny dreams with Big results!

Monday, September 22, 2014

a 2-fer


while Henry whines for me outside my studio door, i just want to say there is something MaGiCaL about when women gather.  yes.  saturday evening, i hosted Girls Movie night, and 7 neighbors came by bearing gifts of food.  and wine.  lots of wine.  veggies, dips, chip.  did i mention wine?  oh and a movie!  we watched The Neighbors.  so funny.  the rule of GMN is food, wine and a movie that funny and stupid…something you'd rarely admit to watching, but YOU know you want to.  we do.  unashamedly.  we laugh so hard and have bonded so deep. i will miss this in a deep way, and hope i'm invited to GMN at others' houses…and hope the tradition continues.  It's about taking time away from the madness of young kids and cleaning and jobs and whatever else is going on.  one evening a month (more if needed!).  toddling 2 doors down in your sweatpants and sitting with friends.  gossip is allowed, but nothing hurtful, and honestly these are not the hurtful type of women.  (henry is at full wail now).
i'll admit to having, perhaps, one too many glasses of wine.  but i had to be a good hostess and try everyone's offering.  and when i woke to the alarm on sunday, and realized i had to go to brunch with another group of fabulous women…i wasn't thrilled.  and all i thought about was the cost and the car repair bill coming today and next week's kayak adventure…ugh  and i texted my friend and said Not Gonna Do It.  then laid in bed for a minute more and realized i HAD to go.  as much fun as my neighbors were, i enjoy the company of these women also.  and Lynette is such a special friend that i don't get to see often because she lives over an hour away.  so i re-texted and said yes.  and i went.  and it was as lovely as lovely can be.  ever ever ever.  i met some new friends, and 4 of them came shopping in the quaint town of Cazenovia after brunch.  it was the perfect day, weatherwise…warm but not hot, with a touch of a humid breeze.  nothing to curl your hair, but warm and so so perfect.  if i could bottle the day in a jar, i'd label it Perfect.  I may do that :)  While i was brunching, my neighbor texted me - this is why i love my neighbors - and said she "saw my car was gone, and can I walk Henry for you?"  I mean, do you envy me or what?? so that gave me extra time to relax and go about being a friend.  it chokes me up.  
in one of the shops, they sell FlyLondon shoes.  i fell in love with the logo, and began obsessing and chattering about it incessantly.  i finally asked the clerk if she had an empty box or soething with the fly logo on it, and she came out of the back room with an empty shoebox (!) all wrapped nicely in a shopping back!  i mean…wow.  what a gift.  Lynnette pointed out that so so much Good Stuff has been piling on me since the Tiny House decision.  i agree.
Here's the fly.  it's not much here, but in person it's wild and creepy.  and there's a FlyLondon tattoo in the box!  
I'm wild with gratitude after gratitude.  I'm doing a free workshop for my women's group and anyone else who may want to join in, just to get the kinks out and plan for my 10/11 workshop in Binghamton. so so much goodness that i have to say it twice.
okay - Henry's melting down, so time to open the door and let him in…along with the cat who will be annoying and walk across the keyboard.
You Are Able.  yes - you.

random Tiny around 400sf - yes




Gypsy Tiny


fairy Tiny





random storage

Saturday, September 20, 2014

today's Tiny Step has been to cull through all my email contacts and erase/update them.  this is because i needed to change my email address - the same one i've had since there first ever was email!  too much spam, and no spam filter.  every day i'd see all these spamwiches coming in, and it made my blood pressure rise.  so why bother with it? this morning before i got out of bed, i got a clearer vision of what Tiny Steps is about…it is taking a small step toward your goal every day, but i needed to define "goal."  my definition is to be changed and prepared for the physical move to Tiny.  that encompasses all sorts of things - the purging, and clearing the reasons for having So Much Stuff…designing the physical Tiny, but also why I am making room for certain things…to stop having such strong attachments to things and people who no longer have a place in my heart/life but i just can't let them go.  (think about the special sweater or 8th grade skirt that holds memories, BUT takes space.)  i decided to take a tiny piece of whatever is dragging my feet down and put it in my Tiny scrapbook…just a 1x1" piece of fabric, or photo of a person/place, etc.  I also thought up some cool design features to add storage, so i'm diggin it.  I realized that sometimes i feel overwhelmed with what's on my To Do list, so i just set the list down and walk away…where to start?? i'm usually a person who breaks down huge tasks into small (Tiny?) bites.  but when there are a ton of tiny bites scattering around your ankles, it's overwhelming.  like tonight - i'm hosting the neighborhood Girls Movie Night.  which means i have to deep clean the house, and i look around and see dog toys everywhere, and the cat box in the guest bathroom and and and.  when in reality, it takes me about an hour to clean top to bottom.  which is why i feel calm taking this time to post.  and a quick trip to the store for dip ingredients…i have until 7pm for goodness sake!
so, today so far I've set up new email, designed storage for a bedroom loft, designed storage for some art supplies, went through my entire email address book on the computer (still trying to figure out how to delete on the phone), sent out emails to let folks know about new email addy (if you didn't get one, leave me a comment or send me a note to my old address), fed the animals and said my 9am prayers.  Hen's in the backyard fussing about something, so i better see to him.  i wish you an organized mess of a day today!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

todays Tiny Step is an unbelievable load of winter clothes (part 1) going to the Thrifty!  I wish I could show it to you, but my camera and computer are not speaking.  As i grabbed things off hangers, i wondered what it was that these clothes provided for me? what was i trying to fill or fulfill or ease by buying all these clothes? i certainly didn't need them in my day-to-day, and just how many days worth of clothes were there??  was i trying to reassure myself that there would always be plenty?  I think that may have hit the nail, in a sense.  when i was very young, i remember my mom telling me that my father had changed jobs, and that he wouldn't get paid from his new job for a few weeks, so we had to be sensible with our money.  she then took me clothes shopping and spent the unheard of amount (for the time) of $50!  so it was passed down to me in a quiet way, i suppose.  and yes, i am far and away a Big Enough Girl to change those misguided behaviors.  the trick is to recognize them.  i went through closet after closet, pulling things off hangers.  if i was uncertain, then the item stayed.  then i went through again.  i work in radio - no one sees me.  i need few "play clothes," i don't go to black tie events, and do not have a secret life.  so another pile went into the box for the Thrifty.  I imagined someone seeing an item on a rack and if i imagined that they would be happier with it then me, then it went into the box.  it's a big box.  i am limiting myself to 1 small closet, as i prepare for Tiny living for real.  and please - is there any need for bigger in my situation?  previously, i''d buy clothes that i Might Need if i decided to work in an office again, or if i felt funky that day or if if if.  it was endless.  now, i will trust that my radio job will continue, and if not, then i'll Thrifty the clothes and buy new ones At The Time they're needed.  it will also force me to take a look inside and decide who i am, and shop for that person. one closet.  one love.  i work on it till it starts to get nit-picky.  then i stop.

today's Tiny lesson that came through with the Tiny Step was all about balance and trust and centering and knowing your strength and concentrating on the goal and not losing site of what you want…I submit for your approval (as the man said):

and i just have to peek at this again, i love it so so much:

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

random thoughts and Tiny Steps

Todays Tiny Step involves purging, again…a stack of summer clothes that hid away from me is now in the staging area to go to the Thrifty…soon to be joined by winter clothes and coats that no longer zip over larger parts or are hopelessly Not Me.  tomorrow is another planned purge day.  along with the closet purge came an epiphany.  There are still some things I hold in my head and around my heart that should no longer have a place there.  not bad or destructive feelings, but just a sort of Law Of Returning Averages…they no longer return what is given out, and what is given out should not be - it's time has past, and it's time to relinquish the people and the places to the Fond Memories pile.  not to say that future memories shiny and new won't be made, but it's sort of like an older woman trying to dress in her clothes from her glory years.  (again, the clothing connection).  time to move on.  and as this reality struck, i felt something grow larger within me…the ties that i had been trying to maintain, had held me in that place…had kept that small part of me from growing past that spot.  it had an immense importance in my life…I cannot ever describe the earthshaking bookmark in my life.  but it is time to move on, move past, move forward.  keeping the lessons and the growth, but letting the teachers go.  and with the exception of a few Truest Ones, that is exactly where I'm at.
Funny how these are supposed to be Tiny Steps, but they seem to be large?
Last night, in that wishy washy time between wakefulness and dreamfulness, i thought of Nikki.  and I felt her in the room…with my eyes closed and in the darkness, i felt her.  i think i mentioned the dream i had last year - about her giving Henry to me, so i wouldn't feel guilty about sharing my heart with another 4-legged?  well, i've been worried about Henry not eating his food…he eats everything else - grass, sticks, poop - but not his food.  i didn't want to give him wet food because it caused such a dental nightmare for Nikki and for Kita.  so in this nebulous state of neither-here-nor-there, i realized it didn't have to be one way or the other.  today, i mixed a teaspoon of wet food in with the dry and Hen gobbled it up.  i know, sounds so obvious.  but it took my little NikkiNoodle to open my eyes while they were shut.
And so comes Tiny Step #2…a lesson: watch for the obvious - it isn't always a puzzle to be solved…sometimes the answer is obvious.  (head smack!)  And sometimes life isn't about a choice between this or that…sometimes it's a blending of the two ideas.  Like a Tiny House - a house but smaller.  and some other personal stuff that is whispering transparently in my ear but hasn't formed into a solid thought yet.
So it appears that the Tiny Step Initiative is about physical steps and plans and movement, as well as growth and learning to prepare.  i'm diggin this scary, wonderful, grateful, humdinger of a life.  and i have to tell you a secret:  it isn't all sparkle farts and roses, but i've shifted my view to accept everything as a blessing…and knowing that sometimes the blessing will take a while to reveal itself.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

a word about my last post

I am truly digging Nancy's book.  That being said - i have a strong aversion to how-to books, and "life coaches" that want to tell you how to live your life.  this book is not that.  I am not opposed to therapy, coaching, prayer and any necessary help to get through, get over, get past a stumbling block or trauma.  not at all.  (I pray to God, but allow that you may pray to another diety or none at all.  That's how I roll).  I am opposed to using the self help guru as a tool for procrastination…When I Finish This book/workshop/drum circle/ etc., I Will Have An Amazing Breakthrough.  nope.  guess what?  you'll just be older by that many days/weeks/months, and be in the same spot you were before.  To clarify another point emailed to me, I am scared of the folks who espoused "Leap and the Universe will catch you" back in the 90's.  Most of those people had a 6-figure (or more) income to fall back on, and the luxury of walking away from a second income was no risk at all.  I saw many follow that path, and it never ended well.  ever.  there is prep work to be done a/k/a a biz plan, for one.  but rather than just go off here, let me say that I will not trample on your dream.  i am a more skeptical and cautious person - that is my journey and who i am.  i'm finally cool with that.  you are free and able to do as you feel best, because - that is your journey and who you are.  easy peasy.  winner winner chicken dinner.  so if i sounded like i thought anyone who didn't do things my way was wrong and that they'd meet with crashing disaster while i chuckled and shook my head knowingly….no.  not sure where the idea came from even, but there it is - out in the open and the light of day.  doesn't look so terrible in the light, does it?  I am just so lit up with gratitude for all that i have, all that i don't have, all that i will have and for the people i love (whether they love me back or not).  i smile every single day because i am blessed.  and this was a Tiny 2-step day…having the opportunity to clarify my journey by answering your email.  Thank you.  now, to play with Henry who is woebegone and testy with boredom.

todays Tiny Step & a random photo

todays Tiny step:  I downloaded a book by Nancy Levin called "Jump, and your life will appear."  Here's the thing…the 90's were all about Vision Boards and Fire Circles and squeezing your eyes tightly shut while exclaiming I Believe I Believe, and hoping all your dreams would magically land at your feet like a sparkly cotton candy prize delivered by a pink unicorn speaking french.  no, mon petite.  it will not happen.  and yes - i believe you need a vision, and one you believe in so strongly and with enough certainty that you will get up off your couch and walk toward it through rain and snow and high winds and flooding. (is that the post office??) no, not every single thing has to be that dramatic, for instance - grocery shopping…you don't need to grab crampons and BeLiEvE you want those mangos SO SO badly that you'll fend off super coupon-ers to get them.  just buy the mangos.  and the same is true for so much of life.  but the important Thing…the general direction or your strong Due North…you can't sit on your tush waiting for it.  if there's not enough of a desire for it that you'll work for it, then honey it isn't your truth.  it you trying on someone else's style because you admire them.  and no amount of cutup magazines and sketchbooks will ever make that cloak fit.  you have your own adventure…your own truth…your own shiny path & journey.  taste the rainbow of another's dreams to get inspired, but acknowledge that it isn't yours.  find yours.  move toward it.  on a parallel thought - ever notice how "fortune tellers" tell everyone they were a king or an important person in a past life?  were there ever any commoners?  The Just Joe's who make the world go around day-to-day?  same here…there are lives we bump into that are amazing - they've gone from literal rags to riches and back and forth a few times.  they are solid and calm and everything we wish we were, so we start buying the same clothes as they wear, and decorating our houses the same, and starting a blog, and feeling blue when they are.  it doesn't work, and it's as silly as me dressing like my Perfect Stepdaughter.  (who is 30 years younger and 60 pounds lighter and is Perfect).  my point is - discover your dream as you move through your life…your dream is your purpose (you'll see)…it will not drop into your lap…you can do this.  you are able.  don't disrespect yourself by denying your dreams aren't good enough…they are plenty and enough, and exactly what is needed in the world.  whether you are a stay at home mom, or a cake baker, or a corporate CEO or busdriver or artist…YOU are the dream and YOU are the purpose…it is through you that others are reached, through who you authentically are.  be you.

Monday, September 15, 2014

first, some stuff:






and now some other stuff:
In 1982, I woke up paralyzed.  no accident, no twisting the wrong way, no apparent reason.  just could move my arms, then my legs, and soon my lungs began to move slower.  I'm grateful my lungs woke up before I needed assisted breathing.  and, despite stumbling if i didn't concentrate really really hard, my legs began to come back.  my arms, though were useless.  i couldn't feed myself, or type or take care of hygiene issues or even get out of a bathtub by myself.  i had to move back home with my mother.  i was at the prime of my Years of Great Coolness, and i became an invalid of sorts…tho i despise the name "invalid," because spell it out, man.  i was not invalid.  just a little broken up.  it's a long long story of sweat and intense pain and very hard work and being told "you'll never _____" fill-in-the-blank, and had i been able to - i would have thumbed my nose at them.  i would not be a child in my mother's house forever.  i would do all those things and more.  and i did.  three years later, i began a body building training.  yes - arms and all.  slow and easy at first, using primarily legs, but soon those bird wing arms grew stronger, and my scapula began to build muscle to hold them down and i began to get stronger.  i am now 99.85% better physically.  i am grateful for every misdiagnosis, every over-prescribed muscle relaxer & pain pill and every time my PT worker yelled in my face that i would NEVER walk again or lift my children when they should be born … she was awesome…she knew just the right buttons to push…she knew when to lay off and let me cry a while…she knew when it was time to get busy and help myself.  she fired me from her practice so many times, which made me show up and sit in her waiting room till she decided i meant it - that i would work.  she knew, but didn't tell me, that i was fighting for my life.  that if i didn't move forward, i would literally die.  that the nerves that had been destroyed need to grow back QUICK and we had lost many precious months with the wrong medications being given to me.  she knew because, out of the hundreds of PT's in my area, I had somehow been cosmically been referred to her.  and she had 3 other people in her care with the same condition - one that most physicians never ever see in a lifetime of practice.  and now she alone had 3 people.  a 4th died before getting to her.  Gilliam Barre Syndrome, if you're wondering.  people were getting the new Swine Flu shot, and dropping like flies.  i never got the shot, just the effects somehow.  But i share all this to say that you would think after something like this, a person, me for instance, would go brash and bold through life knowing that they can accomplish anything at all.  that, after cheating death and disability, nothing worse can happen.  but it hasn't been that way.  i did become more mindful of the people around me, and how everyone has a battle going on in their lives … be softer and slower with people…let someone ahead of you in line if they are tapping their foot…give someone the closer parking space…whatever you can do to lessen someone else's load, do just that.  and more.  but not too much - don't make them feel unable.  but back to my point, somehow.  i know of my determination and strength.  i know i Can If I Have to.  mostly.  but i've also seen a lot of tragic endings and listened while weakness won out over mind-boggling circumstance.  i say weakness, not in a less-than sense of the word.  weakness as in limpness…where you Just Can't See The End of the bad time…and you let yourself go limp and death comes to snatch you up.  i've listened to that in my former job, was a magnet for it somehow.  and oftentimes, when i thought there was a crack in the door for a person to peek out through, often i'd remind them that they indeed had nothing left, and it was a Good thing, not a bad one…that they could start fresh, a clean slate, no job/spouse/house/whatever to hold them back from whatever they wanted to do and become.  and the weird thing is that it worked almost every time.  the realization that, it was like a Janis Joplin song:  Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose.  The worst had happened, and now the choice was theirs to rebuild or not.  it was my job to keep them on the phone til help arrived in person.  and so now, my words come back to test my heart and my determination.  i've lost nothing, let's be clear before you panic.  however, there are choices before me that are dazzling and scary and wonderful and sparkling.  and they all require a restart.  a reboot.  a factory reinstall.  a walking away towards something new.  and the new stuff is a little hazy right now.  but it shimmers.  and i say 100% that i am grateful for every single bump in the road and for every easy ride through the woods.  this post rambles and weaves all around with no real point, i realize, but here is my offering and i hope you smile big today.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

it is so freaking cool to trust.  to be able to slide you hand into Another's and feel confident that 100% there is nothing to fear…that you will only be hurt if you misinterpret total, pure Love for trickery…that you will only be misled if you mis-follow.  Trust.  who'da thunk?

New Topic.
i did not expect the email love i got after my last few posts - after re-reading them, i realize i sounded like i felt an orphaned sock, thumbtacked up to a corkboard at the laundrymat.  not so, mostly.  i know there are a ton of folks who believe in my Tiny Plan, and even if it was just YOU, then that would be enough.  thank you.  some days require extra sparkle sent out.  this weekend was an entire 2 days of sparkle being sent out, commencing with new hair, a makeover, fall/winter Thrifty wardrobe (LL Bean, Ralph Lauren, Ann Taylor, Liz to name drop a few) for $54.00.  time to dig out last years stuff and re-thrift.  I think i'll re-thrift a lot of my summer stuff too.  i liked what i got, but less in less, and it will be there next year.  right now, the air is cool and cozy, and being all about autumn - i'm diggin it.  still need to capture The Duck and get her to a rehab place.  she is proving crafty & elusive, but I am determined and sneaky.  time for Special Ops.

I dare you not to dance: (and by the way, the little blond fiddle player is a twin to Perfect Patty)

Friday, September 12, 2014

be audacious. and don't trample the flowers

I am blessed to be surrounded (virtually) by women of courage.  women who will walk up to their fears and bitch-slap them down, or find a way around, or in some method big or small - make their dreams come true.  the list is endless, and it chokes me up to think of all the audaciousness their lives encompass.  i feel small and whiny compared to their feats of strength.  but then i feel large and capable.
one such person is Patricia ("Trish") Seggebruch.  and i rip off, copy & paste, and otherwise borrow this from her blog, because she says it best:
‘When a resolute woman steps up to a great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, she is often surprised to find it comes off in her hand, and it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers.’
RW Emerson~
________________________________________________________________________________________________
It is only in the effort of facing down our own demons and putting our faith to the test
that we find out how strong we are
or how weak the supposed enemy.
And when the enemy is our own ill conceived notions of ourself
our ability
our strength
our value
our dedication
our purpose
our contribution
all the more amazing
the joy and wonder of
having the beard come off in one’s hand~
Come along with me on one amazing, bold adventure.
With this one timid yet bold adventurer.
- See more at: http://www.pbsartist.com/blog/#sthash.gVAk0WK0.dpuf


Yes.  I read these words and said yes.  After yesterday's crushing of my heart, i read this today and said Bring It.
Can I explain/lecture here a minute?  I may be preaching to the choir, but there is one specific person that needs to hear this, and won't otherwise listen.  When a person shares their Dream with you…their deepest, fear-filled step-at-a-time-gonna-do-this Thing, consider yourself blessed and be grateful for the trust they have put in you to share the most raw parts…trust that you won't tip the salt shaker onto those still-forming Dreams…They are not  asking your opinion and especially not not not asking you to play Devil's Advocate, which as we know is a thinly disguised manner in which people allow themselves bad behavior and all manner of dream-crushing under the guise of making sure you've thought this through….hence the name.  it is a very thinly disguised forum for a person to exhibit their hostility and perhaps jealousy.  it is never, however, appropriate to offer up your DA.  and if the Dreamer should ask, "what do you think?"  they usually are not asking truly "what do you think?" but instead asking for reassurance that they have the skills, knowledge, and balls to work through any dilemma until the Dream is satisfied in one of two possible outcomes…it lives, or it does not.  but either way - the purpose of Dreams are often the skills and knowledge acquired along the way, not the actual "success" of the Dream.  which makes it successful, no matter what the apparent outcome then, no?  (that's French).  So i guess the so-called Devil's Advocacy foisted upon my ears, and the Only Possible Solutions pushed and shoved at me yesterday turned what could have been a Very Wonderful conversation into a battleground, which i do not appreciate and lowers you on my list of People To Be Trusted With Dreams Of Any Sort.  it is not up to you to resolve my bumps in the road, and i certainly did not ask for the torrent of trash strewn at me verbally.  do not do that again.  This dragon will protect her heart.  And i will not excuse your words unless asked in an apology.  I will, however, notice that your thinly disguised disgust of my Dream in verbal form…did. not. sway. me.  i stumbled with the blow, but my last thought before sleep was "tomorrow starts again."  So on the other hand, i thank you for allowing the lesson.  but that hand remains closed, hiding the Dream.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

2 important lessons learned today:
One) eating undercooked bacon does not end well
Two)  it is absolutely essential to never, not ever, trounce on someone's dreams...no matter how unrealistic or spaced out you think they are. The dreams belong to the dreamer alone. And a seeming setback is not your opportunity to express your view that the outcome is bleak.  Be kind, and if you can't be kind, be quiet.  A setback is also an opportunity for growth...let it be just that and not laced with anger and opinion.

Now, good night.
a somber day in every sort of the different ways that a day can take on a personality...from the nation's collective remembrances, to a sky filled with rain and high winds that blow an umbrella past it's breaking point, to a Tiny Step's toes squashed and trampled.  But it's only just one day..the sun will rise again...there's a chance for temperance in the weather, and perhaps just perhaps - some graph paper and a mechanical pencil will help restore and revive.  for the rest of the day today, as best i can, it will be a quiet day as my heart chooses to beat only every other beat.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

the daily Tiny Steps have continued, and I have to say that some days the Tiny Step forward is to hold steady in the storm and not let my foot slip back a step.  or two.  my studio purge has slowed to a stop, and it remains in upheaval.  so today i took a hard look at the studio - the physical table and paints and tools and found objects and fabric and all that stuff, but also the idea of the studio.  i haven't done anything artmaking-wise in quite a few months, yet my plans are all trying to encompass this volume of supplies.  right now, my studio is in a 22x22 room…a Tiny House all on it's own (actually larger than most of the tiny's i've seen!).  and it holds my feet.  always has.  so is it time to choose between going tiny and having all these supplies?  is it time to sit with this for a day - but just a day - and decide which expression moves me most - collage, paint, fabric, assemblage?  each of them taps into a different feel…each one has it's place.  sometimes an idea can only be expressed by paint.  sometimes only rusty metal will do.  perhaps the answer is to find a small studio outside of the Tiny and when i feel the need to create, i can go there.  maybe keeps some small stuff at the Tiny…hand work like embroidery or crochet/knitting.  A studio would be a great way to immerse in community, also.
I connected with another woman who is building a tiny, Michelle.  when i feel overwhelmed, and like a dog chasing it's tail, i go to her blog and read a bit for re-inspiration.  Last night I discovered that my Very Own Mother thought i was just dreaming and not serious about the Tiny.  She was so unencouraging, i had to hang up the phone.  i know she goes for traditional security of a marriage, rather than building your own strength, but had thought she was behind me. (she is convinced that my stepsister's problems would all be over if she just got married).  it's a little sad to realize there really are few people who are behind me on this…who truly believe in me and my plans. not dreams, but Plans.  they once were dreams, but now i am putting my shoulder to the door and bursting through to walk the hall.  are you with me?
it's funny, but less than a decade ago, "connection" was all about having/reading blogs.  then Facebook took over, then Twitter.  people have cell phones, then texting.  now - no one talks.  it's all text and hitting a "like" button.  I call my stepdaughter and she doesn't answer the phone.  but i'll get a text in a minute or two after.  at first, my feelings were hurt.  but then i realized that's just the way of communication today.  i'm old fashioned for having this blog, actually.  but i like it that way.  i still say that if you're too busy to pick up the phone and say hello, then you're too busy to be my friend.  but on a lighter note…my job goes well & i love it.  maybe the creativity in my job serves the same purpose as my studio?  hmm.  a thought to think in the shower and through the woods with Henry…if i can wake him up, beautiful dreamer that he is….

speaking of beautiful dreams…dream on, dream until your dreams come true….doesn't look so Tiny, eh?


Thursday, September 04, 2014

2-fer

oh and by the way…some Extreme Coolness just occurred…details to follow next week…meanwhile:

Just put yourself ahead in time, Linda, pretend that it's next month already, and imagine that the past 4 weeks just totally rocked. Every hope you now possess for the coming weeks has manifested. Every challenge was breezed through. Every cool person stayed cool. Every trickster became an ally. There were happy surprises along the way, and you got plenty of sleep.

This is how we roll.

Kung Fu -
    The Universe
look at this!


I went to look at some sheds - premade - just to get a feel for what Tiny space looks like in person.  and it made me a little sad, the rectangular space.  not to sound like a space cadet (no pun intended) but i like working with a square…there's so much more I can do with a square.  and the video above just hits all the right bells.  yes - i am certain that apartment cost a very pretty nickel to contort.  but i'm also certain that it can be done in a similar and less expensive way.  i don't need European imported gadgetry - but i love how the space was divided and used.  the closets were much more than what I'd need, but the pantry/office i could definitely use.  i love how the seating is rolly and all storage.  i love my new Tiny Table, and i love the long counter/table/island in the video that goes up and down.  so there's a mix of ideas, and maybe my Tiny table can be my new art table.  maybe, we'll see.  but seeing things in person makes a big difference.  that apartment was 550 square feet, and would be more than enough, i think.  it looked downright spacious compared to what i've been looking at!  i measured out the few rooms that i actually use in this house, and it is almost the same.  Plus, I don't use the entire room - for instance, our livingroom is huge (and rectangular!) but i only use 1/4 of it to sit on the couch and watch an occasional movie or tv.  so really, i'm looking at lifestyle - (i'm home a lot) - and space preferences - (i like to have people in for dinner) - and all the things that are important to me.  i'm leaning more towards a Tiny House not on wheels.  still keeping an open mind, and conscious that i live in a snowy, cold climate, so can't depend on outdoor space as usable year round.  i like being tucked in during the winter months, like a bear in a den, but don't want to feel suffocated.  it's an exciting thing going on here.  Tiny Steps.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

today my tummy woke me up…it was not happy. and the throat croaked that it was feeling a bit funky too. so it was back to bed after a quick Henry potty.  Taking it slow & cozy in today's rainy day icky.  have been looking at "Tiny House Swoon" website and have seen some amazing places.  I've looked at some of the rooms in my house here, and thought "i could live in just this room."  Am realizing that the Tiny Houses built on a flatbed & wheels may be too small for me.  I am too much of a homebody to live that small.  unless…i had 2 of them put together!  They would need separate transport and I may be wishing and dreaming more trouble than it's worth.  So i'm keeping my mind open for a Small House also.  the difference is a Small House is usually stationary - a very small traditional house not on wheels.  how much am i willing to downsize and scrunch for safety & security?    time will tell.  so today's plan will be to relax and tinker a bit in the studio - still being put back together and purged - and maybe grab some graph paper and start penciling floor plans.  the day will definitely include some lemony wax on my new tiny table!  and good coffee.

This makes me smile really big…and so does this…and now, Henry is at the end of his patience, so we are off to a backyard adventure in the rain, tummy, throat, icky not withstanding…wishing you a cozy day today!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

deux

so, what do you do when you live in a Tiny house, but you like to have lots of people over for dinner?  Winner winner chicken dinner!  You find this with a "Free" sign on it…
although it's basically a 1-seater, note that it's a drop-leaf and note that there are THREE extension leaves on top!  so it's a table for 6, hiding in a table for one.  I could explode!

in other news, there was no success capturing Quackles the duck.  She knows I'm on to her.  Funny though - while I was sitting by the pond, fish net nearby and cat carrier at the ready, 3 different people came by to feed her, and each called her by a different name!  so she is Quackles, Carl (don't ask), Martha, and Daisy Duke Duck.  I am hoping to capture her tomorrow so I can get her to the rehabber.  The time is growing short for her successful rescue.  say a prayer.

tomorrow is catch-a-duck day, find-a-bra day, plan-a-party day, and hug the stuffing out of henry day.  for now, i'm tired and thinking about bedtime before i fall into that sad time.  so goodnight y'all.  Geez that table just tickles me.

through the knot hole - breach position

you may notice that my last entry was tuesday.  and there's a good reason for that.  i was in no way prepared for what was expected of me at work with 2-3 people out on vacation/sick.  nothing could have prepared me.  and had i known, i would probably have curled up in a corner and wimpered that I Couldn't Do It.  And at the end of the day wednesday, as I was stinking of flop sweat and tearful and near vomiting, and hating the new guy for his smugness thinking he would never freak out like i was freaking out (but he would've),  I realized that I had, indeed, done it…it was ugly and not nearly my best work (an understatement), but for the most part - i did it.  My job is not brain surgery to start with, but has demands that certain time marks be met, that i sound cheerful and competent and reliable and knowledgable, and that i do this every 60-seconds for 8 hours.  That's it.  I'm not fighting insurgents…I'm not holding a beating heart in my hand preparing for transfer to another body cavity.  i merely work in radio.  and there's no crying in radio.  but.  my ass was kicked with a soundness that it hasn't been kicked with in quite some time.  i don't remember the ride home, nor do i remember falling into bed with Henry tucked tightly against me.  I do remember feeling a chill down my spine knowing i had to do it again the next day. and the day after that.  when i woke up - an hour earlier than i needed to - it was a conscious decision to greet the day in gratitude and take the attitude that I had another chance to prove to myself that I could do this - I would rock the schedule handed me, and I would be GOOD not just adequate.

And I Did.

And then on friday when the only other employee on duty (out of 5) told me he was sick and going home early and i had to take his scheduled reports as well as the other 2-3 people's, and by the way use an unfamiliar studio which is completely & TOTALLY different from what i have ever used, and oh by the way have 15 minutes to learn it and prepare a report & deliver it…yeah, at that time…i said "okay" and i calmed myself like a trainer calms a wild horse and just. did. it.  I did.  and through the haze of mildew in the room so thick you could see it…i smiled.  (didn't breathe in, but smiled).  And now, knowing that I can do this, i am grateful for the opportunity that was given me to crash and get up and power through and reorganize and see what works and what is hindering me and change/remove that hinderance and know that i can i can i can do this thing - this life thing - this changeable and sometimes ugly thing called life - this life that is changing in dramatic ways that need not be drama-filled - i can.  i can.  i can.

And that was a big Tiny step that took a few days to learn.  and i realized i still have mad ninja organizational skills.  and i get to do it all over again next tuesday.

I meet you back here later.  Be Fierce,

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

2-fer tuesday



today's tiny step is to create a ledger to keep track of how I spend my money…every cup of coffee, every lottery ticket, every thing.  just to get a handle on 2 things: where does it go, and what is important to me.  If I am willing to trade some of my money for a cup of coffee brewed not-at-home, then it must be considered either Important To Me, or Wasteful.  i know i engage in a lot of "thoughtless" spending, and don't want to suck the fun out of life entirely, but am i willing to trade that $5 daily cup of coffee for a Saturday kayak trip with friends that will cost the same amount?  you betcha.  so it's more like trades, than denial of things.  I want money to be a resource for me, not a master.  and that thought right there is actually a Big Tiny step, if you sit with it a few minutes and let it bloom.  how many choices do you make in your life because of money?  i mean, everyday there are hundreds…do i buy this shiny thing because it makes me smile, or do i spend it on a dinner out with beloved one(s)?  if you are very lucky, you can do both!  and there's nothing wrong with that!  but i am choosing a Tiny life, and honestly am not able to work enough hours to do that, so…i purge my choices along with my clothes!  And am thrilled to have the choice right now.  some moments terrify me, but i stopped looking down - only forward - and that's where the cupcakes are.


these quotes are from FLOW magazine.  I will have the paper version of Flow in my life.  It's a choice. I love the feel of the paper they use, and don't feel like the electronic version would be as good (for me).  I am an artist, after all!  it's all about the texture.

so that's it for now…what is your tiny step?

Monday, August 25, 2014

2-fer tiny step

Alis Volat Propris (She flies with her own wings)

so, my tiny step today was to volunteer with Women Build - a division of Habitat For Humanity.  They get an extra hand, I learn to build a house.  winner winner chicken dinner.
it's funny how your perception of "things" changes when you realize you will have to find space for it, or that it will occupy a newly-cleared space, dissolving the effort.  you can take this to the nth degree, i suppose, and there are those that have - turning Tiny into a revolution of reduction.  I know my limitations, and the things i consider important…don't want to live in Sunshine, or any other crawlspace…just Tiny.  and it's curious that the Tinier I think, the larger i feel myself grow…know what I mean there?
now, off to work in radioland.  
just looking around the world….





at fun stuff…so many good ideas and plans and Things To Be Aware of….heading straight ahead…feet certain…NOOK at the ready….so many ways to get large by getting tiny...
today's tiny step? plan for the next tiny step, and make a journal of all my tiny steps…a big book of tiny steps.  want to help?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

2 huge loads of clothing to the Thrifty….check
1 huge sterlite tub filled to the brim with books….check
1 shiny new NOOK app installed in iPad….check

did i feel a little twinge buying a book called Tiny House Living?  yeah.

time to get dressed for Perfect Stepdaughter's birthday bonanza!

it was a tiny day, bursting with goodness.
Today's tiny step? I went up in the attic (yes) over the garage (pull down creaky stairs, reach for the pull cord for the light, blindly waving about), and brought down one of those ginormous Sterlite tubs filled...with
                                                          Packing peanuts.
Filled. With. Packing. Peanuts.  I'm not sure how they got there, or why they've been so lovingly preserved.  But they are now in a lovely bag by the trash, to be curb-alerted or tossed.  And I have one of those Sterlite tubs I'm so incredibly fond of.  Today's rainy day tiny step (on top of going up in that damn attic and pulling the tub down) will be clearing through the rest of my clothes, coats, and yes -the red cowboy boots that no longer fit but remind me of the last time I had to reimagine myself when my 1st husband died, leaving me NOT the beneficiary on any life insurance because his 1st wife shared the same name as mine, so he figured it would be okay. Those boots. And for bonus points, I will be grabbing some fistfuls of books that I haven't looked at in a while.  Like years. Like for some...never.  I love you, dear art friends, more than you can imagine.  And I support you in your endeavors.  But, something's got to give with this book collection, and it's time to spread the love around.  I'm thinking maybe the women's shelter, or maybe not...they're pretty busy getting lives together at a grass roots kinda level.  Do you want some of them? Most are technique type of books...mixed media, quilting, assemblage...I'm not sure what will go and what will stay, but if you want to be kept apprised, let me know.
Long post, tiny step.  Oh, plus one. Last night my neighbor & I walked and gossiped and somehow eventually got talking about books vs NOOKs, and she told me I could download the nook app on my iPad free! Don't even have to buy/carry/charge up another device! It blows my mind how wasteful I've become, that I don't even think about stuff like that.  And in our discussion about Tiny Houses, we thought that living in a studio apartment is a great way to see if a person can survive small space living. It would certainly give you an opportunity to see how your newly pared down stuff works. Or doesn't .  I like what one Tiny House blog calls the Fire Drill test...your house is on fire & burning fast...your loved ones/pets are already out. You have 1 minute to grab stuff that's important to you, knowing you'll need to start completely over. What do you grab?  That will help you see what is truly important to you. One couple lived that drill, as a Colorado wildfire claimed their big house. The husband was gone & wife home alone. One of the items she grabbed was his down-filled slippers because she knew he'd want a comfort item as they began their new journey to rebuild their lives. I bawled my eyes out.
Today I choose to smile & be productive.

Friday, August 22, 2014

BIG and tiny

BIG:  I wish I had a magic wand or magic cure for all the women I know going through chemo right now.  I know this is about you, not me, but i want to tell you that i ache with compassion and sadness for you…that i want desperately and dearly to be able to wrap you up in a silken pashima and fly you to a paradise of your choosing.  i want to tell you that it is my flaw to say the wrong thing, so i often say nothing, for fear that you will think i'm not scared inside for you, and when i do say I'm scared inside for you, i often feel like you'll think i'm just seeing your cancer, and not you.  i see you.  i hear you - things spoken and unspoken.  i know how, in the grand scheme of things, losing your hair should be on the bottom of your list of worries, but it's on the top of your list of insults from cancer…it's a visible way that marks you as part of a tribe of people you want nothing to do with.  and all you'd want is to have a milkshake not laced with something glowing that will travel your body's insides telling tales.  i want to say that i hope to never be able to say "now I know what you went through," but hope you know i care as deeply as i possibly can and cherish your voice on the phone and your emails, and hope i'm a lifeline away from antiseptic smells and needles and all manner of bodily invasiveness.  i hope you live through this, each of you, and i hope i can hug you, each of you, soon.  until then, i am available for you 24/7…if you can't sleep, don't want to get out of bed in the morning, want someone to watch a movie with (in person or over the phone - we can do 3-2-1 start the movie! and both watch it at the same time).  I hope my stories distract you, and you see them as my offering to you and not as a self-absorbed conversation.  and i hope you'll never whitewash or bullshit me when i ask How Are You?  because i really mean it….i want to know all the good, the bad, the gritty and ugly that maybe you don't have anyone else to share it with…that maybe those closest closest to you only want to hear you're doing a-ok.  that's valid too, in it's own psychological way.

tiny:  my tiny step today is to take stock of everything i own and decide what i need to live with in order to Live, and what can go.  i heard someone say Why do people keep books after they've read them?? and i guess that's a good question, given that everything is available always - be it on ebay or etsy or still in bookstores or electronically.  for years i've scoffed at the notion of a Nook.  now i realize how much space i would save without all my shelves of books.  most are written by friends - art technique - and though i love the folks dearly, if need be, i will pass them on for someone else to enjoy.  They are special in who they represent, and not so much in the actual instruction, as i know most of the techniques anyway.  so a Nook may be in my future.  not a small tiny step, but a good one to take through the weekend…an entire mindshift.  but i'll still keep my magazine addiction!  the feel of the pages of Flow magazine are too yummy.  it's about living well... but smaller, not about punishment.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

ps

I am ready to live my story, rather than let my story live me.

ah ha! A theme!

don't you just love when you figure out a pattern or theme going on in your life?  if it''s a good one - whoo hoo!  and if not, then recognizing it can help you change it.  (I say "you" here a lot, but we all know i mean "me").
so, this morning, I received this in my inbox:

Tell me, when you think of taking consistent action in the general direction of your dreams, Linda, do you imagine discipline, sacrifice, stamina, work, courage, monotony and strategies, or are you thinking adventure, discovery, new friends, excitement at the crack of dawn, magic, surprises, fun, laughter, and on occasion - the Macarena?  Your chosen perspective changes everything.
-TUT

For as long as anyone I know can remember, i've have remained solidly stuck in fear…of everything.  i won't name the many and varied colorful fears that danced like candies before me to grab and swallow…they nourished my soul - in the wrong way…

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.
"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed." 

yeah.  like that.  No more free lunches on my heart.  Tiny Steps.

Also in my inbox is this, from a woman I would love to meet someday, Hiro Boga.  It's very long, and I know it's difficult to keep someone's attention very long anymore, but i ask that you take a moment and read it. (Ignore the color bleed)...

Anytime you face a situation in which you feel powerless to effect change, remember this: You are a sovereign being. You have the power to choose.

You may not have power over the weather – rain, sun, storms – but you have the power to choose how you will respond to the prevailing winds; how you will think and act in the face of whatever blesses or assails you.

Power is a quality of your soul. It is always available to you. You carry within your very cells the memory of power, the energy and experience of power. You can tap into it at will.

Think about the stories you tell yourself and others. Stories about powerlessness: I can’t help it, this is just the way I am | just the way things are. He did this to me, she did that. If only I had | he had |she would. How could they do this | act this way | get away with this?

In the midst of telling your story about powerlessness – even if it’s a story about someone else’s powerlessness, the massacres in Palestine, or the murder in Missouri – stop. Check in with your body. How do you feel? Check in with your breath, your pulse, your heartbeat. How is this story affecting your biology?

Then, ask yourself: By telling this story in this way, am I contributing to healing and restoring wholeness? Or am I projecting onto this situation, onto these people, onto myself, the shadow of fear, victimization, helplessness?

Your thoughts are powerful. Your stories are powerful. Tell a story about power and agency, see yourself and the people in your world as powerful, able to participate in miracles that transform themselves and their world, and you lend them your power. You help them access their own power. Most important of all, you act to mobilize the immense powers of wholeness on their behalf. You act to change your world.

Tell a story about victimization, and you weaken yourself, and the central nervous system of everyone involved in the situation, even if you never meet them or live halfway across the world from them.

Develop the habit of power and the capacity to hold and use power effectively, and you can use your creative resources to shape a world of kindness, peace, provision, safety and sufficiency for everyone.

I’m looking forward to talking with many of you about power on my live preview teleclass, Create with Power on September 3rd. For now, pay attention to the stories you tell about power and powerlessness in your everyday life. Be mindful of how they affect you and your ability to create what you truly want, in your life, in your business, in your world. And then, change the stories you tell. Use your power to choose a new story, and serve your deepest, truest desires.
 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

tiny steps

I've begun a Tiny Steps initiative in my life…asking myself "what tiny step can I take today to become who I am?"  Some days there is nothing more than grinding fresh beans for coffee, or sitting on the patio as the sun comes up.  Last week, I went to a new hairdresser who Got It, and re-did my do.  it made a very big difference.  not much of a vain person, but really need my outsides to represent my insides a little better.  and to that end…I started thrifting - popping tags, as the song goes.  I've been going to the local Thrifty Shoppers with a friend.  Rose knows which ones are good for pants, which ones have great shorts, etc.  and once a month, everything in the stores are 50% off.  I never not ever thought I'd buy serious clothes there, but when i scored an Ann Taylor CaShMeRe sweater for $2, I rethought the whole darn thing.  And of course a set of bone china for $10.  and it occurred to me that I could dump all the clothes (well, most of them) that have sat in my closets for a while…the ones that don't fit great or are kept "just in case"…in case of what?? if i don't love them LOVE them, then they don't represent, and guess what?  Someone else can pop a tag and get my old clothes!  It is such a light feeling to pare down.  shoes, tops, pants, especially dresses - all in the Thrifty bin.  knowing that i can buy "new" for hardly any cash when i NEED something is a good feeling.  a lot of the things i ended up with still had store tags on them.  and they all represent.
2 weeks ago, i started a Meetup group for people to meet 2x/month on sunday mornings and go walk our dogs.  simple.  the fact is that i've hibernated within myself and my home too darn long, and need to branch out a bit…make friends that will be a part of my new life.  not discard the old…no way!  but knowing that my besties are living far away, it's time to get out more.
This week, my Tiny Step was to realize that I control my own story…I decide what happens…and decided to stop letting life HAPPEN to me and to make life happen!  This seems like such an easy concept, and a natural way of thinking, right?  But i had gotten so used to disappointment and living for others and being told i was not measuring up - in small, constant ways.  the day i stepped back into my radio job was the day i realized how far i'd let things go.  and i am moving back to myself, and taking control of my story.  one thing i've wanted to do is camp.  i know, right?  so today, i bought this:

yep.  a 1-person+Henry tent.  I live an hour away from Eureka Tent company, and they have wicked good used-and-refurbished sales.  I called them (because i couldn't wait for an internet order) and the guy said they were all out.  My disappointment must've been obvious because he put one together for me (not sure how that works) and it should be here in 2 days!  I wish many blessings upon him for this - he has no idea what it means to me.  it is huge.  it is much more than a Tiny step, in ways which I can't explain here. and the day it arrives, i will camp in my backyard until i can figure out where else to go.  it should be easy to let Hen out to go potty!  
I am going Tiny in my life…tiny steps, tiny amounts of stuff to own, tiny tent.  and the more i unburden from my "stuff," the larger my heart grows.  There are long moments where the tears threaten as my heart explodes with gratitude.  I realize how my Stuff has been a burden, in some cases - objects that have kept my feet cemented in place because Where Could I Store All This Stuff?? I am about to embark on a journey through the gritty, ugly stuff, but i know i will be fine…i have had some of the most inspiring guides going ahead of me, and some of the most amazing supporters beside me - my wingmen and my flankers…nothing can touch me!  I may get wounded, but the battle will be my victory.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Nanu nanu

The fact that Robin Williams died by his own hand is as shocking to some as the fact that he died at all.
To some.
To those of us who slog through bouts of depression, it was shocking, but there was an underlying understanding.  The fact that he was the guy that made us laugh so hard for so many years made it more tragic, I guess.  But think about all the famous funny men and women who have died recently...overdoses of drugs, alcohol, life...what were they self-medicating against?  Think about the person in the office...the funniest, or maybe the quietest...often - very often- humor is used as a light saber against the chilling darkness.  Often a person is quiet because opening their mouth might unleash a torrent of their secrets...the Help Me's.  Depression is one of the single most medicated diseases in the US, yet most sufferers hide their diagnosis under layers of humor, addictions or silence.  I had a circle of acquaintances with cheerful blogs that posted Isn't My Life Amazing pictures and snippets of their supposed day-to-day.  After digging deeper, I realized that it was a sugary tower they constructed and less a reflection of reality.  I had to step out of the circle.  It was just too difficult to embrace that unreal reality.  And once outside, I saw quite a number of folks had done the same.  I guess I'm off track, as usual.
My point in the beginning was headed here: we often don't know who is suffering, or how deep the slice goes.  Knowing you are there for them, us, is good.  But often not enough. No matter how deeply you care.  Depression is a one-man show that cuts off everything but itself...no amount of love can conquer it, but any amount of love can help...no amount of talking can dissipate it, but any amount of conversation can deceive it. It comes when it wants, stays till it feels like leaving.  You don't "wallow" in depression, it knocks you down and drags you to its lair.  Sometimes humor helps...sometimes being the funny person guarantees you invites that will give you something to point at on your calendar and wait for.  Sometimes humor excuses a lot. Sometimes it's like putting lipstick on a pig - hide the ugly under the candy coating.  I guess I would say Be there for a depressed person.  Don't expect to cheer them up.  Just be there.  My friend Kim has this amazing sound she makes " mmm mmmm " that's like chocolate chip cookies out of the oven.  It's a comforting sound, but doesn't make you feel helpless and childlike.  So be there.  Grab a movie or some knitting and sit with the uglier parts of the person...the parts they are most afraid to show. Don't expect to save them from sadness, just be there. And I thank my people who have been there for me. And those of you reading this, I thank you for no judgement.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A seemingly perfect Sunday morning

Last night, I sat in a folding chair on the massive lawn of a mansion overlooking a chi chi lake in my area.





Groups around me picnicked with expensive wines and baskets from trendy shops.  I sat silently reading the program, my husband-not-husband doing the same next to me but not too too close.  We waited quietly for the beginning of a chamber music concert that he had left his love of all loves for - The Boat- to come listen to. It wasn't out of love. Or concern for my aloneness. More to be the user of the ticket rather than someone else.  By intermission, I was more than ready to go home.  The music was not as I thought, and almost as bad as if I had tried screeching a violin for the first time myself.  Not out of tune - the ensemble chose to play their own original compositions.



 Not a fan.

 We drove home silently, went to our separate floors of the house, and turned out the lights.  I will say that I cannot continue to live like this.  I awoke with a pounding headache and intestinal drama.  I will say that life was given for so much more than this.  I am working way too hard to keep busy...to keep out of my own head.  I am looking for a place to belong, I guess.  Not just people to keep busy with. A place where there is a slot that only I fit, where I am meant to be...where I can say AHHH and relax into myself.  For most of my life, I have been the one to try to make everyone else's life wrinkle-free.  I am done.  Done working too hard for a husband who cares not...who sees his entitlement but not his responsibility...or his wife.  I am done trying to fix my head, to fight the astoundingly crushing depressions that come, and waiting for the other shoe to drop when there is a break in the clouds.  Tired of being marginalized by a man I married...only to be kicked to the curb when his kids are grown and my earnings aren't much of a help. Tired of being the maid, the cook, the grocery shopper, the laundress.  I am glad he has found a passion, however, wish there had been room for me, as well...wish that it was not required that I participate in his passion -The Boat- in order to have a place in his life.  I get the all-consuming passion thing...I'm an artist.  But by god I never walked away from my life in order to persue it.  My one week retreat every year felt like stolen time that was never acknowledged or spoken of, other than mild mocking about the "girls making art in the woods."  I have clung for life to those "girls" at times.  I have replayed moments and hours and days...a mix of happiness and longing for them.  The fault is my own for living so narrowly...for not demanding my place...for not branching out more earlier on.  I can say that the demands of my stressful previous job with the weird hours is partially to blame.  I can say that living with an un-admitted alcoholic is partially to blame.  I can say that not keeping my eyes open and listening to my gut is partially to blame.  I guess I just expected back what I gave.  I guess I just expected a partner in life.  I have, instead, a large house to keep clean (for no one), a high energy dog that needs a lot of time and attention (who gives back quite a lot, by the way!), a studio turned upside down & is unusable, and friends and neighbors who are busy with their own lives, living the sweetness of our quick summer season.  I think to myself, what would I leave behind in order to travel lightly? My studio? My clothes? My sweet pup? What?