a Tiny description

a full time artist, stepmother, radio personality, and mom to an energetic Chug dog, tries to get through the days without committing a felonious act. My life is a rickety Zen circus.


Thursday, November 27, 2014

it's about the stuff.  and my relationship to it.  what matters?  why does it matter?  does it matter enough to sink my dream?  if i can't wedge all the stuff in a Tiny, then I can't have a Tiny.  and i want a Tiny.  the more i look at other spaces, the more i realize that a Tiny just feels right…a small hug of a house…not too much to take care of, yet not an apartment that i can get kicked out of if a little barker disturbs the peace, or if the building gets sold or if the rent gets jacked up.  and i realized that i truly need my own space.  so today as i napped off the turkey, some design issues that were vexing me simply unwound their knots.  mainly:  i love to gather women.  movie night, wine around a bonfire, soup and salad and good crusty bread.  Love it.  i would live in a commune of women, given the choice.  but how to fit a handful of women around a tiny table?  well, what if the table was on a pulley system and was stored at the ceiling?  i could have a regular tiny table (my free one, if you remember) for everyday, and use the leaves in that for small company, but the larger one for more company.  we gather around the table, and generally stay there as we chat the night away, anyway.  i am grateful for the whole Tiny Step Initiative.  I am scared, yes, but giggly too.  Now….on to the financing question...
i had a long list of gratitudes i was going to post today.  there are so many things to be grateful for - big and Tiny.  and i know you are mostly busy with food and wine and napping, so i'll limit myself to just this one…this one that i will hold in my hand like a sacred bubble, not to be burst…to watch the shimmering rainbow move across it's face…today, my #1 gratitude is this:
I was gifted with land to build my Tiny.  And the land comes with a power hookup, and a fenced acre for Henry.  there's more, but that's all i can manage for now…it's about to get real real up in here now, and i want to hold it all close for just a bit before i scatter the goodness, the scaredness, the crazy and the wonderful.  and the scaredness.
blessings to you all.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

(sorry - it's taken me days to log in due to blogger playing nasty reindeer games)

I recently subscribed to Taproot magazine.  It is difficult to read, and I certainly would never read it at work.  why?  Something within me reaches out to this homesteading lifestyle…it yearns…a word I never thought i'd use in a sentence unless i'm being fancy.  but Yearns is the only way i can describe it…strains, longs for, pulls towards, stretches…i can't soak up enough.  it feels like when your Very First boyfriend (the one you'd die without - yeah, the 15 years old one) went away for the summer with his family.  you moped.  and cried.  and swore you'd find a way to get to where he was vacationing.  he saved his change to make long-distance phone calls from the pay phone down the road.  yes, there was a time when cell phones didn't exist.  but that is how my very spirit is struggling.  i see the end lifestyle. i want the whole vegetable garden/honey bees/ composting toilet thing.  i do.  how i got here from semi-priveldged, semi-wealthy, nice little Jewish girl is a mystery.  maybe i was born to live in a kibbutz.  who knows.  but i do know that many of the things i thought i couldn't live without…now hold no meaning to me.  the trinkets and doo dads and found objects that literally fill a studio will soon be gone.  on to another home.  i feel like my life is completely changing.  i feel as though i am becoming my best self.  and i won't stoop to the whole caterpillar/butterfly thing - that's too easy, and you know i am disinclined by nature to take the easy route.  i want a small home - a Tiny home.  but big enough to have dinner parties.  i want a home that feels like a hug.  that's what i want.  a home.  a hug.  and nothing is impossible.

i wish you days of full on gratitude, with sunshine warming the top of your head…i wish you moments when the slightest smile can completely erase your grief and sadness…i wish you the desires of your heart, and HeartFriends to share them with….and cake - i wish you cake.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

i'm still standing…skipping to my own tune…getting messy with paint today, and a week of extra hours at my radio job…meet you back here tomorrow for a catch up?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

while you were sleeping...

While you slept, and while Henry snored - curled up in the curve my legs make when i lie on my side and tuck my knees up- and while Purrl, newly emboldened, snored and purred in his/her sleep just this far away from Henry...and the pipes pinged and banged against the wind that howled outside...and the darkness created a blank slate for dreams to be drawn on...while all this commotion went on, my husband's words snuck down the hall in hushed woolen slippers.
"I don't think there's a future for us."

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

It is my instinct to hibernate when the days grow shorter and darker and colder...when the snow begins to threaten, I want nothing more than to grab my pillow and nap for a month or two - awakening only when my own breath threatens to annihilate me.  Yes, I was born to be a bear, but something went wrong :)  This year, though, will be different.  Sort of.  This year, instead of letting winter make me it's bitch, I plan to retaliate.  This winter I will use snow for it's polar opposite - fun.  I plan to snowshoe and perhaps xc ski.  But instead of the ushhh ( you-szh...like short for usual) (or actually long for it, since it took longer to explain than if I just used the proper word), instead of...that...where I decide on an activity and go 240 & 10 at it, then break something or end up hating the activity no matter what it is...this year I will move at my own pace, even if it takes me 3 weeks to make it down the driveway on xc skiis.  Even if I only make it to the edge of the woods.  Even if I decide to walk instead.  It's getting busy all up in here...the Tiny Step Initiative continues, and I have been true to it...just haven't been sharing all the Tiny's, as I've been away and then settling back in.  Now I'm doing the Badge of Courage project, which is the teensiest tip of the iceberg that I can share about that right now...but it will be good.  So good. My purges continue in the home studio and soon my Away From Home studio will be disassembled.  Yes.  I haven't set foot in there in 2 months, so why the heck spend the money? I could be using that for other purposes with a better return.  And you know, it's my favorite time of year...when I go into KMart and anonymously pay on or pay off people's layaways! I get so jazzed doing that.  Never fails that I leave the store all choked up.
Anyway, I'm off track.  We were talking about winter, and hibernation and snow shoes.  My Henry is a dog that is disinclined to go out when the temperatures dip below 50, he of partial Mexican descent.   And because of this, I will not feel guilty about going outside without him.  Although his pace is much faster than mine, I don't need to chase every squirrel I see, and thus lose my pacing.  Basically, what I'm trying to say is that one of the Big Tiny's was to get OUT...step out of my studio and my comfort zone and just go out.  And I did with a vengeance, joining women's groups and dog groups and starting my own group and gathering women for any & all reasons.  And it is good.  But I am apt to become too busy, as is my way.  And not leave time for thought.  And rest.  And art.  So I'm making 1 day for that.  For me & Henry alone.  And Purrl.  And when I opened myself back up to life and those living in the world around me, it all embraced me back, becoming a möbius circle of love, life, fun, going deep in gratitude, and grabbing every single sparkly thing.  And cake.  Always cake.  I have met (yes, I'm aware there is no particular path to this post) some of the most enchanting women in the past few months.  Absolutely enchanting.  And I've come to know new depths of enchantment in friends I've known for years.  All because I got out.  Not just out of the studio and out of the house, but out of my own way...I opened my eyes and my heart even wider.  I thought I had sight before, but the past summer gave me so much more courage to step out of the box I'd allowed myself to be put in.  So that's where it's at right now.  Why it will be very difficult for me to hibernate.  Now before I continue to bore you, Henry is informing me that he needs to play Now, so I leave this where it is.
Wishing you dreams and wishes come true, and the courage to hold them in your hands tightly...

Sunday, November 16, 2014

the Go To

every so often, i get really ticked off at Facebook, and how it seems to have stolen the depth from our relationships…hitting the "like" button instead of having a conversation with a person and telling them you're happy about whatever they're posting about, or "friending" someone…there's one that gets me scratching my head every so often.  mostly, i go with the flow and straddle the New way of being a friend, and kickin it old school - the way in which 2 people actually answer their phones when one calls the other (and one actually does call the other).
But once in a while, there is a person who's courageousness as a friend is so deeply unbelievable, that it shames the whole Like and Friend process…the depth of their commitment to another friend, despite the heartbreak it causes them, is so unnaturally sweet and wonderful and amazing.
I know such a person.  Actually, i have a few people in my life like that.  But the one I'm thinking of here…
  i'll fast forward to the past year.  a woman from our same high school, and very close friend of my friend…is dying.  she has a week - maybe - to finish saying good byes.  Throughout her illness (and it's been a very long journey) my friend has been the Go To…organizing fundraisers, driving her friend to appointments, holding her hand, no doubt drying tears.  She has been there.  always.  always.  always.  and though her own heart aches and screams as she watches her friend slip away, she stays.  i have no doubt she'll be there till the very last moment.  it would be easier to post a quick Love Ya and Like, then bury her head in a busy schedule in order to shield herself from the monumental hurt of letting a dear one go.  but she doesn't.  it is the hardest choice.  the hardest.  and i commend her for that choice, and i am a coward compared to what she has given.  i hope to never need to pull that strength from myself, but please know that - for you - i would find a way to be your Go To if you need one.  I will learn from my friend how to love as deeply as necessary, and then double it.  and i pray that there will be a reward of grace and peace for my friend for all she has given of herself these past months, years.  and for all the Go To's …may your hearts be soothed, and your sleep peaceful.  This I wish for you.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

post #2 - a Tiny quote

from Mariah Coz…a somewhat radical Tiny thinker, who's ideas I somewhat agree with mostly sometimes.  definitely.  You don't have to want a Tiny home to downsize other things in your life.  and honestly, half the coolness of this sweet dream-coming-true is the process involved in the downsizing to Tiny.  Here's an example:

 A BIG part of downsizing is taking care of invisible, intangible demons. Bad relationships are a demon. You want to to downsize your life, you have to downsize the hard parts too. If that person isn’t in your dream life when you imagine it, what are you waiting for? I swear, getting rid of emotionally damaging things is just as important as getting rid of physical stuff when you’re getting ready to move into a small space. Toxic relationships take up a lot of SPACE, in your mind, your energy, and your life. You don’t have room for that, because your life is going to be so full of things you care about you just won’t have time for the losers. If you don’t have the same priorities, it may be time to do some serious thinking.

There is nothing on television. Well, that’s not true. There are advertisements that pander to you and speak to you like you have half a brain, insult your intelligence, and try to trick you into buying stuff you don’t want or need. But, there’s nothing that you’re MISSING on television. One great way to start downsizing crap out of your life right now is to cut your cable. There has never been an easier time to cut your cable, you can still use Netflix, Hulu, Amazon On Demand and similar services to actually watch the CONTENT that you love, minus the stupid ads you hate. If you’ve been putting this off for a while, you could be wasting 100’s of dollars a year (or more!). Take a moment and think about all of the things you would do if you weren’t tempted to watch bad reality TV shows. Read more books? Write poetry? Dance and do karaoke in your PJ’s? (Is that just me?).

I mean it. Stop it right now. Stop wandering around Target. Stop using the excuse that you need it, or it’s on sale, or you’ll use it in the tiny house! No, you won’t. Because you won’t fit in the tiny house with that extra crap weighing you down. When you’re out in the world being bombarded with messages of consumption and acquisition, just remember that the money you are about to spend on something useless could be building materials for your tiny home. It could be put towards hiring an electrician. Or buying the trailer. If that’s not motivation enough, think about how your dollar is POWER – you have the power in your pocket to add to a planet in crisis, destroy a culture that is being degraded due to the insatiable American desire, and to damage people and places you can’t even point to on a map. OR, you could think rationally, save your money, and put that dollar back in your pocket where it belongs!
no - I haven't abandoned the Tiny Step Initiative…quite the opposite.  it's just been such a FuLL few weeks, that I haven't had time to list everything.  It's kinda clear that I won't have a Tiny by winter.  well, mostly clear…unless some great miracle happens.  which it could, so i'm not ruling it out.  my intention this morning was to write about my week(ish) at Lucky Star, but there really is nowhere to start, and no words to fill the lines on the paper.  so here's a short list of what it wasn't:  it wasn't overwhelming - in a good way.  it was gentle and sweet and fun, but it wasn't that manic, sugar-crazed, New year's eve Must Have THE Best Time vibe.  it wasn't light on the value-for-the-money…i didn't leave there wondering what the heck i just spend $2K and 5 days on, and feeling like the organizers were chuckling in a room filled with money somewhere.  i don't keep track dollar-for-dollar, but i've left some gatherings scratching my head, asking "really??"  It wasn't a fashion show, talent show, popularity contest, high school-ish thing.  it was women in their fullest, best selves, coming together to make art and friends and have fun…and all the goodness that surrounds that cloud of wonderful.  It wasn't a place to stick to a diet.  it wasn't a place to come to and expect to leave the same…new friendships and new skills and new boundaries crossed…all change a person just the tiniest bit.  Did i feel like my life was changed dramatically?  no.  but that just served to reassure myself that i am headed in the best direction.  did i cross boundaries - heck yeah…i rode a horse…i walked across the water (well, on a footbridge - not in the water-to-wine sense.)  (but kinda).  i smacked those fears down.  and on the plane ride home - the part before the bird took a shortcut through the engine) i designed an official Bade Of Courage, and am so pleased that others have contacted me for them.  so incredible to hear their stories of courage - whether it's fixing a drippy faucet alone, or going through chemo.  hurrah for y'all, eh?  (that's what happens when you go to Texas and take a photography class from a Canadian…"y'all, eh").
so today is crammed with Stuff To Do, so off i go…my studio #1 is back in action, and I have room for  7 around my worktable, so if you're feeling the need to make art…come on by.  Studio #2 will be shut down soon…it just isn't serving me as well.
Be shiny.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

i'm home.  or rather - i'm back at the address that my bills get mailed to…i feel like i just left Home.  In case you didn't know, I just spent 5 days in the Texas hill country, at Lucky Star Art Camp.  If you weren't there - you should've been.  If you weren't there, you must go next year.  If you don't go next year, don't blame me.  this is your final boarding call. I've been to any number of art retreats and workshops in my time, and each one has it's own flair and flavor - some cotton candy, some BBQ and chilis, some apple pie.  Some are just plain as water, with a Just Learn The Stuff strictness.  I have to say, this past week in Texas won my heart.  None of the drama that often ensues when 100 or so folks are snatched out of their comfort zones, travel way too many hours in every sort of unreliable mode of transportation, and arrive sweating and stinky and needing a shower and a chardonnay.  NOW please and thank you.  add into the mix that you'll be bunking with women You Don't Know, that may/may not have strange bathroom habits or snore or use all the hot water or sleepwalk or talk/fart profusely in their sleep.  now, add to THAT the fact that all those shiny new art supplies have to be used In Front Of People.  there's your recipe for bad behavior, if it was ever to occur.  and the tipping point will come, and which way the pendulum swings is determined by the organizer, and how he/she acts/reacts.  Lisa must have been exhausted…she has no less than 22 kids (i lied right there) and 3 full time jobs (there too, but who wouldn't want to get out of the house with that many kids), and on top of that, she has at least 2 chickens that i personally saw, and by the way, took a leap and a chance and made Lucky Star from a ball of golden yarn and hopes & dreams.  so if she grabbed a microphone at lunchtime and shrieked that we should all be ashamed and Go Stand In A Corner for time out, no one would blame her.

But she didn't.  she was sweet and honest and as overwhelmed to be there as we were, and was In Charge.  You just knew it was all under control, and you could relax and enjoy every single thing.  if it wasn't good, she would make it good, so - no worries, no pouting.  But it was all always good, and if under that cool, calm, happy exterior, IF she was paddling like a 1-legged duck, then she hid it well.  but i think she was just diggin' it.

more tomorrow, including The Ghost Dog, The Badge of Courage: Water feature, and the Badge of Courage: I Rode A Horse.  (a real one).
Now I have to go talk on the radio, which seems cruel, but there are many worse things, and many worse jobs, and i have worked at each one.  so i am grateful for my job, and grateful for my time in Texas.  and grateful for my totally rocking real live cowboy boots with just a little bit of horse poo on them.  i will wear them to work, specifically because of the poo, knowing that the fan doesn't work in the studio, and now no one will bother me.

Did you do something courageous at camp?  Was even just going a major breakthrough for you?  tell me and I'll make you a Badge of Courage.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Be back soon...R&R-ing in the Texas Hill country.  It is good with my soul.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Today I'm grateful for the crispy, downy sound my comforter makes next to my ear when I tuck in for a few more minutes sleep.
And for the beautiful fragrance of cranberries from an air freshener.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Fall...fallow? Nah

A mostly sleepless night, with lists and obligations and plans all swirling through my head.  I used to call them "night dogs," these scampering, vaporous half-thoughts.  But now I have an actual night dog - one who prefers the comfort of my bed...no, the couch...no, the bed. Back and forth with endless bounding energy.  Bounding, because he leaps up onto the bed in one bound and bounces a bit before looking for the perfect place to spin a few times, then lay down.  Even for a minute.  Then off to the couch again.
Normally I think of fall as a prelude to fallow time...time to prepare everything for winter sleep...plow it under and let it go untended for a season.  But this year will be different.  This year will be a busy time.  I am hoping for plenty of friend-time to dissolve the winter blues...hoping to keep the monsters at bay with snow shoeing and xc ski trips and general Using The Season for fun.
I now have a new tab in my life folder: before summer/after summer.  "After" began with the Tiny plan during the summer, but they're my tabs, so...
I try to stay focused on the silver linings, these days, and have found that to be such an incredible rush.  Let me say, though, that daily life has been Difficult with two people living together that really truly desperately wish the other would just go away.  The easiest thing, and the route I've always taken these past too-many-years, is to make nice...to just cross that peace bridge, shake hands, forgive and forget.  But guess what?  A part of you doesn't forget.  A part of you scars and heals over and re-scars.  And soon your body starts to chime in, trying to tell you Hey! Take better care of your soul.  This will continue till something changes.  Or your health collapses.  I was in bad shape physically.  And I said No More.  I blew up the bridge, put my hands in my pocket and turned away.  There was no point, that was obvious.  I felt abused.  Deeply kicked.  And so began the Tiny Step Initiative, which was a small way, every day, to make progress toward my Tiny home, but large life.  It is crazy amazing, and crazy scary.  But mostly the amazing part.  But old heart-patterns die hard, and the past week has been exceptionally difficult, and i had a crazy thought that if I just took a step toward the bridge, that maybe just maybe This Time...but the Plan for me is to move forward, apparently.  After watching an embarrassing drunken display last night, my heart sealed over and I turned 100% away.  On my street, we gather, us women.  I am usually the organizer, but still we gather for meals, movies and general enjoyment of each others' company.  And I realized at some point how many of us are hugely busy with raising our families...with no help.  Both spouses live in the house, but they operate as separate entities. And I have to say...alcohol stands between them in each and every case except one.  That one is a workaholic.
This just-passed summer, I was alone while my spouse stayed on his dream boat, refusing to come home and blaming me for my own loneliness ...shouting that I need counseling, when I asked for him to be present in the marriage.  And so the Tiny began, as I reached out to women who shared the joy of each others' company, and as I grew stronger in my heart, and as I dusted the corners of my spirit, and saw that it didn't take hardly any effort to be strong and grow straight and true.  It was all a lie - the feeling that I could never Be again.  I AM.  I Will.  Of Course.
I had forgotten how enraged I felt when my spouse drinks...forgotten how the white hot flame sears through me and takes this gentle heart and stomps it...forgotten how it makes me want to scream and throw curses and threats, which stay inside my head of course...which stay inside my body, till the poison attacks my bones and joints, and makes me so so tired.
I had forgotten the intensity of that which I felt daily, weekly.  And last night I wondered how and why I had put up with it for so long??
I am different, yet again.  And I will not accept the unacceptable in my life ever. Again.  So the Tiny will continue to be the goal I work towards, but there must be an intermediate step.  And the time has come for it.
I am glad for the horror of last night...grateful for the final push that the remembrance gave me, so that I can move forward with no regret and knowing there is nothing to look back at.
On Wednesday I leave for 5 days in Texas , and I think it will be good to gather with women again...good to wake up with no obligations, other than to eat breakfast made by other hands, soak in the lazy river, ride a horse, make some art, and fall even more in love again.  With my self.