๐ŸŒŠ Pond Fever III ๐ŸŽ‹

I started out to write about the end of my pond and I got caught up in the beauty of Havasu Falls that my web browser app opens up with sometimes.

Havasu Falls by Gonzo Fan

These falls immediately soothe me, inspire me and make me think about life… I think about the rock, so distinctive, like the values that we build our lives upon, the water like the beliefs that either healthy or toxic nonetheless run our day to day lives, the plants like goals and feeling that grow from our beliefs and the air like our thoughts that waft here and there, emotions like storms or sunshine painting everything with different palettes of color.

A few months ago during the pandemic I took a Blue Zone Life Purpose Workshop and I came up with something that was very unclear,

To change physical spaces ext to alter mental spaces towards lokahi/harmony for the benefit of people who feel stuck in a mental loop of stress and negativity.

I didn’t really like the way it is phrased, but I still feel the concept is more or less right for me.

There were some calling cards used to help discover purpose, mine were:

X 24 Composing Things Artistic
X 27 Writing Things Artistic
X 47 Growing Things Realistic
X 48 Shaping Environments Realistic
X 52 Building Things Realistic

I enjoyed the workshop, but left it feeling unclear still, a few weeks ago I found a beautiful article about Japanese Dry Rock stacking or Ano Zumi, and the beauty of this place really stayed with me:

Takeda Castle Ruins in Asago City
Ano Zumi (็ฉดๅคช็ฉ) Dry Stacked Stone Walls
It becomes a real castle in the sky.

Uploaded Image
Mooney Falls by Aurorae

Going back to the falls in Arizona, a flood ruined what was natural about them, and they had to be “recreated” with man made techniques, so what looks to be natural isn’t 100% natural. It’s nature inspired, but there is an interplay between humans “making natural things” for we are a part of nature too… though a natural style and an urban or modern style are different, we can’t be 100% divorced from nature.

This is the “finished pond” but I’m sure it’s going to keep evolving, water lilies are being grown for it right now and it possible will be bridged later.
Before the pond.
After the pond.
Zoom In
Finished Pond, With Pump Off, Looks Very Natural To Me
One day there will be shade here from the in ground avocado tree.
A planted rock to sit and watch the river.
The waterfall box is hidden by a plastic soil bag, an old blanket covered in mud, and a bonsai with clover, it’s a mental tribute to Takeda Castle.
The rock staking is a fusion, it’s dry rock staking, but I also used waterfall foam, since I have dogs, chickens and kids, I wanted the extra safety, though I plan to do more rock staking without the foam elsewhere.

I’m having trouble updating this post, probably something to do with the data size from the pictures vs my free word press host, so I’ll wrap it up, I like the pond in the end, I think it showcases nature even though it isn’t natural. I’ve seen it draw my kids into playing with “nature” that makes me happy. Seeing the way they interact with it, it did meet my objectives for it. I wanted it to be something different people, with different tastes could enjoy. There are strawberries that will grow down from “the mountain” that supports the waterfall spillway box, there is ample room for many yamadori bonsai to grow on the lava rock as a planters, there is some formality of Modo Grass, but plenty of hybrid features such as the avocado. There is so much of the landscaping “undone” yet the plumbing/electrical/water features are “done” so I feel okay being done with the “Of Mice and Men Garden Pond 1.0”, it led me to want to grow many more bonsai, which I have failed at many times in the past.

Thinking about this garden, a failed moss garden led me to a grass lawn, led me to this border pond, I’m sure this border pond will lead to more rock staking and a larger koi pond further back, but it led me directly to retry bonsai growing and watermelon growing both… so it’s a really twisted road with blurred lines between gardening, farming, bonsai, landscaping, and rock staking, but I guess that’s my path in life, a windy one.

It takes a long time as a child to get away from who you are, and a long time as an adult to get back there, but many the journey is needed instead of wasted because maybe we need the tools and strength we gain along the way?


๐ŸŒŠ Pond Fever II ๐Ÿ‘ทโ€โ™€๏ธ

There is a natural rock cave there in the distance, I thought it would be a good place for a pond.
Same picture different focus: A damsel fly my daughter rescued on a knott weed flower.
Digging the front section of a pond, intending a very shallow and easy reflection pond.
I was checking for room to put a bridge through in the future, and planning to put the pump in back.
I decided to use the soil to form an island, the gravel to make paths in the back, and continue to the rock cave to “save money” by having one pump instead of two.
It took a lot of digging, because stones were everywhere and I had to haul the gravel out of the site, which didn’t have space on the pathway, nor lawn. Rather than just dump it I put it into a looping pathway, which sometimes meant moving trees or piles of weeds ext.
I was going to skip shelves and have a very shallow pond, but shelves do provide more stability and room for plants… so I did more digging to get some shelves and reversed my plans to have the pump by the cave to instead have it by the path, which meant changing the slope to get deeper by the path.
The hay helped give some stability to the loose gravel.
I sized and folded the big liner to minimize where the folds would trap debris.
I poured some mortar I had laying around from a few years ago, it was very lumpy… but using some landscape edging helped me keep it straight and clean up the shape of the shelves. This bond board lets you use heavier stones in a more stable way.
I put an underlayment of old cardboard and hay under the liner, then the liner, than some old blankets, the started placing some rocks to put pressure against each other to provide stability.
I added more rocks, 100 hand loads at a time (maybe 10 small rocks, or 2 medium or 1 large), and made a heart shaped pond in the top right. I added pond foam for security as well as backfilling with tiny stones and gravel. The pond foam is difficult for me.
We got some Mondo Grass (yay) and I put in more rocks and more foam…
Working on moving the water feature pump over, routing the electrical under the path, routing 1″ tube to the hill and 1/2″ tubing to the small heart shaped pond.
Defined the shelves of the middle pond and poured mortar into the second section using landscaping edging again.
Placed cardboard and paper bag underlayment with some scrap foam from my daughter’s new desk (upcycled trash) and the liner, than an old gray blanket and started the rocks.
Dug a shallow trench hid the plumbing and electrical together, put batteries in the LEDs, set up a fog maker near the cave, routed the electrical and plumbing under the pathway, planted the avocado tree, moved the mondo grass over a bit and kept adding rocks and gravel into the lower and middle pond.

There were times I wanted to give up, but buying the supplies kept me going, I wanted to finish using the parts I already had and though it was a lot of work I didn’t want to leave it half done.

Today is Saturday, I hope to do an entire section tomorrow, the top section where the waterfall box will sit. I haven’t dug that, even though I did mortar a section, I need to dig the center out of the mortar, form a shape, place the liner and underlayment, place the water fall spillway, build a box around the spillway, check the waterflow of the top pond and the waterfall, and fill in a few gaps in the rocks of the middle pond.

I’d like to leave Monday for clean up and Tuesday to pick up my dad from the airport, but time will tell how long it will take me to place all the rocks…

I cut my wrist early on when a bucket of gravel slipped and the plastic rim caught me, it was okay, I mixed mortar without gloves, and smoothed gravel, tiny holes appeared on my hand, I put a lot of Vaseline on my hands since then and wore gloves the second mortar pour, it was okay, I fixed the pump of a different system and cut myself on that on my fingers, it was okay, but I don’t have time to stop and still make my deadline.

My kids drew on the wall with a metallic adult marker one day (and the both dogs), two days later with a black sharpie, and my son threw our cell phone into the koi pond… so there is a price to pay.

Overwhelmingly I enjoyed the work and found it more fun than lifting weights and more relaxing than watching movies. Usually I hate my own work, but I actually like the way my rock placement is coming out and I’m happy with it. I watched a lot of pond making videos and Japanese landscaping videos and researched Shinto and it’s influence on the meaning of the garden, when I was too tired to work I was reading or watching.

The world’s best Japanese garden outside of Japan, the gardener was stabbed out of racism and he vowed to never return.
A Japanese how to show, it shows many construction techniques I may try in the future, but I was watching to get an idea of how to do the pathway around the pond, which is small. In Japanese gardens the paths tend to curve, it was believed evil spirts walk straight lines, but in modern times it’s like an invitation to slow down.

To Be Continued…


๐ŸŒŠ Pond Fever ๐Ÿ’ƒ

Across from the lawn coming in, there is was a rock pile, today I moved it and started digging a shallow pond.
$100 on Amazon on Sale Pond Kit

This is the pond kit I have coming, it got really good and bad results, some people really liked it, others did not, but I am not looking for a deep pond so the pump may work for me when it wouldn’t work for others. I was willing to take a chance on it.

Eric explains the basics about the digging phase of pond building. Thank you!

Watching Eric dig got me excited, because he digs, the hole gets bigger, it goes fast. For one thing I have a different environment, I hit tons of lava rock big and small and have parasites that need to be jarred found under those rocks, and touched one and got all slimy so had to scrub my hands in salt for awhile… but I see the speed Eric works at and I want to match it, I want to push myself to be consistent and do a bit everyday and try to beat the shipping of my pond liner to have the hole ready.

Eric’s way to dig, get the spade shovel, put your food on it (obvious right? I didn’t use to), then put the dirt in the wheel barrow pointed the way you are going to move it so you don’t have to turn it (obvious right? I didn’t use to) very helpful actually, he showed how the spade sculpts the sides and a flat shovel can level the bottom, as well as what shelves look like in real life. I really liked the video.

It feels like I didn’t get to do as much as I wanted, but at least I got a start, the rock pile is gone, the first shelf is started. I watched a video today that said dig everything the level 1, which for me is 1″ below the wood path, then I will did level 2, about 4″ below the wood path, then level 3 about 6″ below the wood path and then a small 8″ area around the pump that returns the water.
A New Path for the Wheat Hill

The material I dug out was mostly red gravel and some dirt that I carried uphill to lay on a particularly hard to walk area of our garden, it has spiky sticks that poke you, which are left over from dead fern vines, so… you could say it was an uphill battle… but carrying the gravel gave me a break from digging so my muscles could switch between digging which is hard on the back and carrying which is legs… that actually kept me from getting tired, I just had to stop to serve meals and play with my kids. This path is new, from what was not needed in the pond area.

I watched this video with Carl, wow, he is so legit of a pond builder. It was really helpful. I’ve built two tiny ponds in the past, but Carl had all sorts of tips that I never knew about, like filling the gaps with landscaping foam, using soft fabric under the liner, allowing very artistic and intuitive rock placement, how to do the lights, the way he runs the electrical, just in general he is at a professional level and I am at a amateur level, but there were some things he did that I could copy, like adding the foam, switching to 1/2″ corrugated tubing which kinks less.

After watching Carl’s video I spent $160 more on materials… tubing, pump, water lotus seeds, more pond liner, a fogger, landscape foam, but I think that in the end the difference between a cheesy looking fountain and a really nice one is reflected in taking more time to place rocks aesthetically and or using better materials.

My back can feel the digging now, perhaps I should have filled the tires of the wheel barrel with air so I didn’t have to carry the gravel uphill in buckets… but life is never perfect.

I’m reading “The Most Powerful Goal Achievement System in the World” book by Mike Pettigrew right now and I really like it, I don’t read it everyday, but I do try out the activities and it has helped me believe in myself a bit instead of thinking “I can’t buy landscape stuff, because I won’t be able to figure out the plumbing,” or “I never finish what I start”.

I’m really excited for this project, because although it’s going to sound all crazy it feels like God speaks to me in the garden, or the garden does, and just makes suggestions, such as put a pond here, the edge of the pond will be here… it’s very like “Field of Dreams”-ish because I’m not religious.

Maybe it’s just me connecting with an inner aesthetic I was out of touch with, but I feel right when I’m arranging certain things kind of like an internal feng shui meter or something. It feels like things kind of vibrate when they are out of order and then just stop doing that and are like magnetically in line with where they are, as if they “snap” where they should be like a magnet to a fridge. It’s pretty weird to talk about, but that’s what free speech is there for… might as well use it while it lasts.

Mike Pettigrew had me do a vision board, which I don’t normally, because I thought people who did those believed things would just magically happen… but it’s not for that, it’s just to feel like you can actually do those things, then you still hammer out the logistics and do the work, but it makes it feel like you can do it, which is part of having the confidence to start.

I used the MyGoals App, it includes a vision board, life purpose, gratitude and affirmation section, I like it, simple, free, easy to use.

The goals I set were grow pumpkin (in progress, just got the first flower), grow watermelon (have a sprout, but not going that well this year), read to kids (going super well, we made it a habit, but it’s not 100% consistent, but it’s most the time and very fun now), clean home (ha ha ha… I do the floors everyday, vacuum and steam mop, I pick up most of the toys… but there could be more done, improved though), plan (this one I want to do more, it falls behind the others), respect my family (sounds vague, but actually going really well, started PCIT training and it helps a ton), Tai Chi Master (going okay, practiced more this year than ever before).

So all my goals are going pretty well, but it’s not that they are completely done. I also exercised once in my banana costume and posted that to my gym website as B-5O.

But I still feel a bit overwhelmed that I don’t have a TB test lined up for my daughter yet, she will need that to enter school and there is a sense I don’t know what is going on in my own life, which I hate.

Hopefully the pond fixes everything somehow?


๐Ÿ”ญ The Friendly Stars: Arcturus ๐ŸŒŸ

Meet Arcturus: Guardian of the Bear - Sky & Telescope - Sky & Telescope
Arcturus is the bright star in Bootes, I have not seen it yet. For me the big dipper’s tail is pointed down now, so that perhaps Arcturus is below the horizon for me, using https://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/night I can check if it will be visible before staying up.
Royalty-free bloodroot photos free download | Pxfuel
Blood Root Photo
Royalty-free bluebird photos free download | Pxfuel
Blue Bird Photo
maple, tree, leaves, background, green, branch, sunny, nature, outdoors, foliage
Maple Photo

“Plants and birds come in their turn “as the resolving seasons rise, above the tree-tops star by star,” and the steady advance of the changing season gets a definiteness and an interest to one otherwise impossible when he has learned to associate the visible signs of the progress of the year as they appear in the skies as well as on the earth. He will then associate the blooming of blood-root and the first warble of the bluebirds with the eastern splendor of Arcturus and the blooming of the maples.”

– Martha Evens Martin

Using the Night Sky Map on timeanddate.com I can see Arcturus was out last night from sunset to 2:30 AM, the best time is given as 8:14 PM

Arcturus in Bootes, sets to early for me to watch, but rises at a great time, I just didn’t know where.
I saw Ursa Major (the big dipper) and Draco, yesterday, but didn’t look above my own head to find Arcturus, it would have been there just a bit above my head from where I was already looking facing North.

When I look outside here in Hawaii, there are so many more stars than the charts, it’s harder for me to find the constellations without a map, since there is not much black at all between the patterns.

The constellations typically are not real, as in they are not really grouped together, but just show together from here.

My “in progress lawn” the BBQ grill is not very near the chicken coop and playhouse, but from my patio they look like a constellation of what can happen to chicken. The “can happen to chicken” constellation.

But even though the constellations are arbitrary, the stars are real and it’s a good way to find them. I found Antares last night and then using the Night Sky Map saw Saturn passed nearly where it had been later in the night, so it would let me know how to look around, which wasn’t very easy for me using the traditional star wheels.

Ever since picking up a used copy of “The Friendly Stars” I’ve been wanting to find Arcturus (4th brightest out of the 21st most bright from Earth).

In case you didn’t guess when the blue birds stir, maple and blood-wort bloom, it is in… March (all Northern Hemisphere, Southern will be different or reversed).

“Arcturus, as if impelled by the onrush of spring, is returning four minutes earlier each evening until at the beginning of April (my regional spring) the star rises just as the sun sets. This is really the month of its greatest glory. It shines all through the evening in the eastern heavens, bright even when the moon is full, and, fitting in with all the other aspects of nature, gives a splendid close to the splendid days of late April.”

– Martha Evens Martin

So in March I missed it rising, in April I missed it’s glory, and in May I didn’t notice it, but now at the end of June I will be able to catch it right after putting the kids to sleep… the star will rise in the same spot each day, but at different times, so that when it rises in the day I won’t see it, but the next year it will be back in it’s spot again. Maybe that is obvious to some readers, but it was new for me…

I will update this post upon seeing Arcturus. To be continued…


๐Ÿ”ญ Starlight, Star Bright ๐ŸŒ 

“The man in the street does not know a star in the sky. The solstice he does not observe, the equinox he knows as little; and the whole bright calendar of the year is without a dial in his mind.”

– Emerson
So many years, I worked or studied until I forgot what to do when I wasn’t at work, forgot what I could do, wanted to do, and liked to do…
i wish
Sometimes I loose my connection to something bigger and reconnecting to the stars can give me a feeling of peace and belonging.

A few times I’ve felt really connected to Marcus Aurelius, the long dead emperor of Rome, because he knew how hard it was to get up in the morning, because he knew what it was like to deal with A-holes at work, and now because we share a love of the stars.

โ€œDwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.โ€โ€• Marcus Aurelius

Another translation:
Book 7, 47 – Watch the stars in their courses as one that runs about with them therein; and think constantly upon the reciprocal changes of the elements, for thoughts on these things cleanse away the mire of our earthly life.

I don’t usually stay up late, tonight I was awoken just before falling asleep, by a star 60,000 times brighter than our sun. Deneb (19th of the 21 brightest stars), it rises right into my bedroom window (Northeast), often waking me up… but before reading “The Friendly Stars” by Martha Evans Martin and Donald Howard Menzel, I never tried to figure out which it was. It’s part of the Northern Cross, but to me it’s part of the swan, Cygnus, deneb meaning it’s tail. So it looks to be flying backwards which is weird, but it’s a beautiful star.

One legend of this star was that it was the king of the Gods, Jupiter visiting Leda as a swan, which I don’t know if that is disturbing or not, so I prefer to think of it just as a pretty swan who is not going to rape any maidens.

The light from Deneb takes 1400 years to reach us, so it was the year 621 AD when the light I saw tonight left it’s star. That was the year Mohammed made his night journey, Spain was under attack by the Visigoths and China established a bureau for porcelain manufacturing. Islam, mixed Spaniards and knickknacks were happening when the light left Deneb and it arrived to wifi, the pandemic and my first season of harvesting from our tiny farm.

It makes me feel small, but somehow timeless, to look at the stars and know them a little bit.

I got “the Friendly Stars” at a free book cart behind a thrift shop, it was copyrighted in 1907, 1934, 1964 and 1966 on my copy. So probably 45 years old… the poster was still in good shape. It seems to have been read before, but treated well. It seems like who had it first wanted to share a good thing to someone else, but that is kind of impossible to really know.

As a child I learned the big dipper, and Orion’s belt, and then most my life nothing more.

Then I came to the big island of Hawaii, and it was amazing, to see how many stars there are, to see the dust, to see the nebula, looking with the naked eye in the center of this island is very much like staring at the poster or magazine pictures and I had no idea what was always out there, just behind the haze.

Granted this is the best place on Earth, the atmospheric interference is the least due to many factors, but wow, the real night sky, with no telescope or binoculars, it’s breathtaking.

So I met Deneb tonight, though it’s woken me many times, so bright that if I see it on accident it’s hard to fall back asleep. Deneb is a super giant, millions and millions of miles away, yet I can see it myself, there is something strange about that, about seeing so little in the day and on Earth, but so far at night and through space.

There is something so soothing about this book written in 1962, that is before my mother was born, but during the time of my father’s childhood, it’s as if my grandmother was talking, a style of English I remember from reading old books, that has since died being replaced by yelling news screeching style that reminds me of the legends of Harpies more than anything else.

If I stand in the front yard and look towards the sky my bedroom window shows I can see Vega above the swan and Deneb, and off to the right above the trees the Eagle with Altair.

Without Time and Date’s online astronomy guide I wouldn’t have been sure of any of the stars, but it makes it much easier, it can be used with your zip code and show you what stars are in each direction through out time to show if it’s worth it to stay up or wake up to catch a planet or star of interest.


When I started writing the Eagle was over my front yard, but since then Pegasus has risen there in the Northeast, stars rise in the East and set in the West as the sun (also a star) does.

“By the middle of the first summer month there is a lull in the noisy rush of the on-coming season. The dazzling blossoms of the fruit trees are scattered and almost forgotten, while the tiny green outlines of the fruit are quietly swelling towards their perfect form. The leaves on the forest trees have assumed their proper shape and are gradually expanding to full size. The old-fashioned annual roses are in their fullest glory. The blue jays have become stealthy and quiet; and most of the birds, while still in full song, have given over the frolicsome hilarity of the spring for the serious work of the nesting-time. Then there comes a soft June evening, with its lovely twilight that begins with the last song of the wood-thrush and ends with the first strenuous admonitions of the whippoorwill; and, almost as if it were an impulse of nature, one walks to the eastern end of the porch and looks for Altair.”

– Martha Evens Martin

Altair comes at the beginning of summer, it is 11 times brighter than our sun, the light takes 17 years to reach us, so when the light left Altair that I saw tonight I was a struggling college student 18 years old… about to go from one bad relationship I thought would last forever to another bad relationship I thought would last forever. Life was hard for me, I worked full time, went to class full time, I wanted much more from myself than I could do. I wanted to have all the wisdom I would someday have, immediately. I wanted to know my place in the world and not waste time making mistakes. I wanted to give and be a lot more than I could. I didn’t know how to enjoy the journey at that time. If I could go back, I would pick that age, it was a painful and disappointing age for me.

I was able to see Antares, which is due South, right out my front door, and is red, which is kind of wonderful. Antares is visible all night in June (and only in June). Antares is a red giant, 5,000 brighter than our sun, in it’s same place Earth’s position would be inside the star since it is larger than our sun. The light is about 400 years old… the Dutch East India company was slaughtering 15,000 indigenous people, Spanish conquistadors were founding cities in Venezuela and the first treaty between the Native Americans and pilgrims was signed… the age of colonialization was dawning when the red light from that beautiful star left to reach me tonight.

Vega was the only blue star I saw tonight, it’s whitish blue, but from my location, still unmistakably blue. 50 times brighter than our sun, it wakes me up when I see it at night, like Denub… it’s light 27 years old, so, I was about 8 years old when it left it’s star. My parents were just about divorced though my mom had already been dating around, for a long time… it would be the first year I saw a therapist. It wasn’t a good time for me, though my parents always fought and the divorce brought more peace, it broke the faรงade of a happy family that we sometimes publicly pretended to have. The rupture of our family 27 years ago, has never been healed, we are a collection of individuals some more broken and some less, but definitely lacking a unity based on the (in our case) disproven idea that “family is forever”. Vega is sometimes thought of as a harp (Lyre/Lyra) and other times a vulture. One thing I forgot about that year, was that it was the first time I noticed the stars, raised in the bright lights of Honolulu, I didn’t see the stars until spending that summer in the mountains with my grandparents. I took it for granted at that age, but didn’t make the time to look at the stars again for about 20 years… even though there have been there every night, we just don’t “have time” to look do we?

The last star was Draco, the dragon star which a long time ago was the pole star and still stays so far North it’s almost always there. It’s orange light takes us back 148 years to when Ulysses S. Grant was the U.S. president and the wars against the natives were ongoing.

So when the light left the red star Antares, the US was at peace with the natives, grateful and with good intentions, when the light left the orange star Draco (gamma), the US was wiping out the last major resistance of the natives, and when I was growing up as the light left the blue star Vega, most of the native population and culture had been wiped out of existence many places across the globe. When the light left Altair I thought love was everything, and now as I’m older and I look at these stars I notice that perspective really changes, as the dragon stars were once the pole stars and are no longer, so too do things change.

Love is still something, perhaps something important, but it’s not everything to me.

A lot of bad things have been done either in the name or in the company of love, love is something special and valid, yet I hope someday our species attains peace as well on a global scale and a lasting time frame.


๐ŸŒซ๏ธ Once There Was a Way ๐ŸŒ„

I’ve been having brain fog so long and so consistently I looked around for an article about it and found “How to Lift

Pandemic Brain Fog” by Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital, they say the prolonged uncertainty causes a lot of stress that together with change in routine due to disruptions lead to a more sedentary life style and worse nutrition. That’s true for me, luckily we didn’t suffer anything major like a death of anyone not already the expected age (my grandpa did pass, but at 101 I wouldn’t call it a tragedy, just a loss), no one lost a job. But we suffered 1000 minor disruptions, the closure where we did school Friday at the science center, the closure of the beaches we went to Wednesday, the closure of our martial art’s school, the change of where we lived, the change of where we ate, a million little tiny things that don’t seem like enough to justify me being so thrown off, but still do result in me actually being thrown off.

Things are not all bad, my daughter’s school is set to open for her entry to kindergarten in Fall, I’ve been exercising for a few weeks, I’ve been drinking water and taking my daughter to therapy, but we have been eating like crap for some time and I sure do feel less well than normal.

So I’m trying to shake it off, but water, exercise and gardening have by all means been not nearly enough for me to feel well again.

So here’s the tips from the article:

Exercise theย brainย by trying new hobbies and engaging in mentally stimulating activities, such as doing puzzles, learning a new language, reading, and playing board and card games. โœ”๏ธ

Engage in healthy,ย mood-elevating activitiesย each day, such as listening to music, going for a walk, taking a soothing bath, calling a good friend or cuddling with a pet. โœ”๏ธ

Practiceย mindfulnessย to help be in the present moment and away from negative thoughts about the past or future, calm emotions and bodily sensations, and slow down racing thoughts. ๐Ÿšง

Learn ways to manage stress. This may include using relaxation techniques, such asย breathing exercises,ย body scanning, progressive muscle relaxation, and letting go of unnecessary worries. ๐Ÿšง

Practiceย sleep hygieneย strategies each day to promote healthful sleep, which has a restorative effect on overall health, including brain health. Sleep deprivation can slow down the brain’s ability to function. ๐Ÿšง

Avoid drugs andย alcohol, as they can have negative effects on brain health and interfere with important aspects of functioning, such as sleep, mood and thinking abilities. โœ”๏ธ

Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital

I thought I was doing most those things, but looking back, I’m not, I’m hitting some areas hard like reading and gardening or playing games for fun, but not focusing on reducing stress or relaxing.

I’m going to try to see if any of those things I’ve neglected helps, starting with mindfulness and relaxation and hopefully I don’t have to change my sleep issues, because I don’t really want to go through night weaning yet, even though that may be part of the problem, it won’t be easy and I don’t want that struggle in my life on top of therapy and potty training.

I also looked for some inspiration from motivational quotes, I found a list of 300 and noted my favorite over some coffee:

โ€œWhen one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.โ€

– Helen Keller

โ€œThe question isnโ€™t who is going to let me; itโ€™s who is going to stop me.โ€

– Ayn Ran

Do what you feel in your heart to be right โ€“ for youโ€™ll be criticized anyway.โ€

– Eleanor Roosevelt

โ€œNo one is to blame for your future situation but yourself. If you want to be successful, then become โ€œSuccessful.โ€

– Jaymin Shah

โ€œThings may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.โ€

– Abraham Lincoln

โ€œHow wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.โ€

– Anne Frank

โ€œGreat things are done by a series of small things brought togetherโ€

– Vincent Van Gogh

โ€œItโ€™s not the load that breaks you down, itโ€™s the way you carry it.โ€

– Lou Holtz

โ€œKeep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.โ€

– Theodore Roosevelt

โ€œDonโ€™t say you donโ€™t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.โ€

– H. Jackson Brown Jr.

โ€œIf you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.โ€

– Napoleon Hill

โ€œIn the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.โ€

– Albert Einstein

โ€œSuccess is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.โ€

– Maya Angelou

โ€œBe happy with what you have while working for what you want.โ€

– Helen Keller

Youโ€™re so much stronger than your excuses.

โ€œDo what you can, with what you have, where you are.โ€

– Theodore Roosevelt

โ€œYesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.โ€

– Rumi

โ€œA surplus of effort could overcome a deficit of confidence.โ€

– Sonia Sotomayer

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.โ€

– Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

โ€œThe problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.โ€

– Pirates of the Caribbean

โ€œWe realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.โ€

– Malala Yousafzai

“Failure is not the opposite of success, itโ€™s part of success.โ€

– Arianna Huffington

โ€œBe a first rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of someone else.โ€

– Judy Garland

โ€œWhat hurts you blesses you.โ€

– Rumi

โ€œThe world is changed by your example, not by your opinion.โ€

– Paulo Coelho

โ€œIโ€™m not in this world to live up to your expectations and youโ€™re not in this world to live up to mine.โ€

– Bruce Lee

โ€œItโ€™s not what you do once in a while itโ€™s what you do day in and day out that makes the difference.โ€

– Jenny Craig

โ€œFalling down is how we grow. Staying down is how we die.โ€

– Brian Vaszily

โ€œThe adventure of life is to learn. The purpose of life is to grow. The nature of life is to change. The challenge of life is to overcome. The essence of life is to care. The opportunity of like is to serve. The secret of life is to dare. The spice of life is to befriend. The beauty of life is to give.โ€

– William Arthur Ward

โ€œIf youโ€™ve never eaten while crying you donโ€™t know what life tastes like.โ€

– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

โ€œRemember, you have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasnโ€™t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.โ€

– Louise L Hay

โ€œOne, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it. Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and donโ€™t throw it away.โ€

– Stephen Hawking

โ€œA goal is a dream with a deadline.โ€

– Napoleon Hill

โ€œWe delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.โ€

– Maya Angelou

โ€œDreams are the seeds of change. Nothing ever grows without a seed, and nothing ever changes without a dream.โ€

– Debby Boone

โ€œThe secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.โ€

– Socrates

โ€œHow to stop time: kiss. How to travel in time: read. How to escape time: music. How to feel time: write. How to release time: breathe.โ€

– Matt Haig

โ€œThe trouble is, you think you have time.โ€

– Buddha

โ€œThe greatest gift you could give someone is your time. Because when you give your time, you are giving a portion of your life you canโ€™t get back.โ€

– Unknown

โ€œTime always exposes what you mean to someone.โ€

– Unknown

โ€œDefeat is a state of mind; no one is ever defeated until defeat is accepted as a reality.โ€

– Bruce Lee

โ€œOur greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.โ€

– Confucius

โ€œIt is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all โ€“ in which case, you fail by default.โ€

– J.K. Rowling

โ€œSuccess is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasmโ€

– Winston Churchill

Whenever you feel like a failure, just remember that even Coca Cola only sold 25 bottles their first year

โ€œEverything is hard before it is easy.โ€

– Goethe

โ€œEither you run the day, or the day runs you.โ€

– Jim Rohn

โ€œVery little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.โ€

– Marcus Aurelius

โ€œLife is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.โ€

– Helen Keller

โ€œThe woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has been before.โ€™

– Albert Einstein

โ€œThe man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.โ€

– Mark Twain

โ€œDwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.โ€
(Book 7, 47 of “Meditations” – Watch the stars in their courses as one that runs about with them therein; and think constantly upon the reciprocal changes of the elements, for thoughts on these things cleanse away the mire of our earthly life.)

– Marcus Aurelius

โ€œDo something today that your future self will thank you for.โ€

– Unknown

โ€œThe greatest weapon against stress is the ability to choose one thought over another.โ€

– William James

โ€œIt takes nothing to join the crowd. It takes everything to stand alone.โ€

– Hans F. Hansen

โ€œMotivation may be what starts you off, but itโ€™s habit that keeps you going back for more.โ€

– Miya Yamanouchi

So out of 300, some were repeats, but about 50 spoke to me. Perhaps I’ll reflect on one a week for awhile.

To the people who are having trouble being productive yet, this article was for you, so you know you are not alone, I’m not sure if any of this is really helpful, but I hope we both find something that is. Cheers to getting back into a non-crisis mode.

cheers with champagne
Sparkling Apple Juice for Me


โœ๏ธ Writing as Meditation ๐Ÿง˜

I’m going to try a new writing technique, just a journal with the prompts: Truth, Candor, Kindness, Acceptance, Harmony, Wisdom, Kaizen.

Reflections of Truth:

I’m looking at the rain fall outside, tired from relocating one of my small greenhouses, but happy it got done so rapidly as well.

I washed the plastic cover, soaking it in a bucket of bleach all day I thought I could scrub it in the shower, and I did, yet… there was a slug on it… alive after a day of soaking in pretty concentrated bleach. I’ll never really ever trust bleach again the way I did before.

I had two small greenhouses right by the front door so I wouldn’t get rained on when I go to water, but actually I love the rain, so I’ve been thinking for awhile of moving the greenhouses away from where they are.

I’m not done thinking about where they should go, but I already moved one.

Some of the plants were so dry… I don’t remember skipping a day, did I forget to water or is the soil way to much peat moss? I’m not sure.

I made a whole tray of potatoes and sweet potatoes in soil, they are chunks of potatoes with eyes and three sweet potatoes to create more starts. Rather than having the potatoes in one greenhouse and the sweet potatoes in the other, they work well together in my mind.

I put all the flowers together as well, morning glories, marigolds, some wildflowers, I don’t know why I tend to neglect the flowers.

I put the beans together stage 1 (germination) and stage 2 (small sprouts), the roma tomatoes got stuck there for now as well.

Reflections of Candor:

I like gardening, it’s hard to get organized, but I like eating from the garden, I like making play spaces for the kids in the garden, I like watching it change and seeing what it looks like now vs what the future looks like in my imagination. I like the idea of leaving it to the kids, they will remember me in the garden, if they keep it, or if they don’t, I think the garden and I will merge in their minds. I don’t know what I was supposed to be to them, it’s not clear in my mind, but I just do what I can with it.

Reflections of Kindness:

Just learned PRIDE, praise, reflection, imitation, description and enthusiasm about playing with my kids from the therapist, that’s helpful. That would have been part of parenting training in an ideal world, but in real life I never heard about that training and declined, it just wasn’t evident if it was available, I would have like to go, but better late than never.

Reflections of Acceptance:

It’s a hard time because I’m still potty training, I don’t think I have to love dealing with accidents and cleaning them, as long as I don’t get angry at my kid, and do deal with them and do clean them, I don’t think I have to try to enjoy it, I think it’s too far away from the things I authentically enjoy to be realistic for me to enjoy.

Reflections of Harmony:

I’m playing with both my kids on a timer, three times a day for five minutes, it makes me feel better. I don’t know if it’s more than we played before, I think it may be less, but because it’s just with one at a time it does feel like I’m paying better attention to both of them. Then if they want more, I don’t feel as guilty, because I’ve done something.

Reflections of Wisdom:

Things are not the worst, but I feel so scatterbrained, I’ve got to check into an agenda or something to get some sense that I can stay on track… I hate this feeling of not knowing what is going on in my own life like I missed an episode of a soap opera… in my own life.

Reflections of Kaizen:

A lot of things are going better lately, cleaning the floors is a good routine, Tai Chi has been a really rewarding and fun routine, reading to the kids much more makes me feel less guilty and I enjoy it, all this stuff is good stuff I didn’t have patience and energy for during the pandemic. I’ve also been drinking about enough water now, which is good, a new bottle helped a lot. All that feels empty, even though I know its mostly good. I don’t know why it feels so hollow. Started therapy for my daughter, it’s going well, I’m really grateful to the therapist who is very helpful, yet it feels like it’s a win for HER. Which is good, I care for my daughter, yet I guess to some extent I’m dissatisfied as an individual entity, as a human being. As a mother, mostly the things I can be doing for the kids are doing well, but it doesn’t fill my own well being, it drains it. The gardening helps a lot, but it still feels like something is missing and off balance. I don’t know what it is? I keep wanting alone time, not having it, not spending money and energy to get a baby sitter and not being satisfied, I’m not really sure if I will change that or not. Since I’m spending extra on therapy, it doesn’t feel right spending extra on baby sitting just yet, maybe someday. But I don’t know if that would really help, because I don’t know what is really wrong, other than a nagging off balanced feeling that hasn’t gone away in a long time.

(The End of the Exercise)

This post was inspired by morning pages, Julian Cameron shared her technique for writers block in her book The Artist’s Way, much of it didn’t really work for me, but I kept the morning pages for years. Often morning pages are not shared, but they could be (in my opinion). It’s a good place to vent before you vent, or if you have no one to vent to, but that’s not all there is to it. It’s a starting place to try to know your own feelings for those of us who struggle to do that. Last week I thought about what seven values I wanted to live by more during the rest of this year and I used that list as a writing prompt for today. Free writing can be a kind of meditation, but sometimes it helps to have some kind of prompt.


๐ŸŒฑ Secret Forest Farm ๐Ÿค

What’s in a name?

Decided to name our home farm “the Secret Forest Farm” and named each section after a Steinbeck Novel since naming the “East of Eden” garden, which happens to be the most Eastern.

Farm experiments, corn with beans vs corn with manure:

Corn Planted with Beans in Native Soil
Corn Planted in Container of Steer Manure Compost with Strawberries, Sweet Potato and Peas

Conclusion corn really likes steer manure, though it did scorch the leaves yellow at first.

The Moon Is Down Greenhouse and Garden:

Potatoes Chitting
Basil Spouts
Overgrown Carrots
Onion (Doing Well)
Cantaloupe Melon
Beans Sprouting In Vermiculite
Beans II Potted Up to Bags
Morning Glory
Macadamia Nut Trees
Milo Trees
Marigolds with Water Beads
Sweet Potatoes

Future Blue Berries
Tomatoes and One Pea
Blue Berry Seeds Frozen All Spring to Winterize and Smashed to Separate Fruit
Strawberries in a Container

East of Eden Garden:

“East of Eden Garden”, the Koa Trees are still doing well, the veggies were moved to the “Moon is Down Garden.”

The Wayward Bus Garden:

This garden has mostly my daughter’s plants now, some carrots, avocado seeds, corn, peas, and a potted watermelon. This garden suffers from pest I should put out more slug bait… the pea leaves have been eaten left corner and all the squares had carrots before the leaves were mostly eaten, potatoes have been planted recently and new carrots.
Tiny Watermelon

Garden Planning:

Trying to keep track of half an acre has been a challenge for me, coming from a very tiny container garden. Even though I know the details, I find I should be able to understand the whole picture somewhat as well, so that led me to draw it out and give names to the gardens using sketch.io a free drawing software that runs via the internet.

I’m really looking forward to the pumpkins in the Forgotten Village Garden and the flowers there have spouted, I also like the Pearl, which just has clover and a large tree, in the Winter of Our Discontent is just wheat right now, but it’s beautiful to me, the Long Valley has nothing other than the hedge growing in the boarder (Panax), East of Eden just has small trees and more hedge coming in, the Wayward Bus has bamboo and a square foot garden, the Moon is Down is starting to be a proper veggie garden, the Grapes of Wrath has no grapes, but I feel I have to grow some since naming it that, Of Men and Mice has watermelon I’m most looking forward to eating and a grass lawn that seems like it will be nice once it comes in (it’s a huge mud rectangle right now).

I took pictures of the front so far to try to remember what it looks like now and motivate myself that things change, although slowly, they do change.

Ok, writing that I took pictures of the back few gardens so in another season I can really look back and forward though time and see the changes. But I’ll have to upload them later because they are not synced yet…

The garden is a healing thing for me, I enjoy it, but I also doubt myself and struggle between biting off more than I can chew or not even getting started on things I want to do with the aquaponic section or in general. I keep watering so nothing dies, but I could be a lot better about cleaning, pruning and mulching… I haven’t even tried the new mulcher because I need a dry day that I have a baby sitter, both those things seldom occur and rarely occur together, but hopefully the stars will align for this weekend to try the mulcher.


Garden Overviews

Zoom of Hill
Garden 1: The Moon Is Down (South)
Garden 2: Grapes of Wrath
Garden 3: The Forgotten Village
Garden 7: East of Eden
Garden 5: The Winter of Our Discontent
Garden 4: The Pearl
Garden 9: Of Mice and Men, Grass Lawn in Progress
Tomato Top, Potato Bottom
Plus Avocado and Sweet Potato
Mice Cages Under the Table Plus Dogs

Reading to Stay Sane:

Cover image for The Most Powerful Goal Achievement System in the World โ„ข: The Hidden Secret to Getting Everything You Want.
Helpful for Getting Back Into Goal Setting Mode

I’m trying to transition out of a pandemic funk into whatever the next chapter of life is like… I read a book about goal setting called the Most Powerful Goal Achievement System in the World by Mike Pettigrew, I liked it, I really needed it at this time more than others.

My oldest child graduated preschool with a cute green cap and gown, even though it was only preschool, it’s actually a big thing. Because in the fall she will try school with the other kids and although I will have a two year old at home, it will be different with her gone.

My daughter starting school, my husband shopping for a new house, a lot of changes even after this past year of changes.

So, I’m trying to find peace where I can, within myself, started exercising again with Tai Cheng videos, I like them, it’s Tai Chi in video form with Dr. Mark Cheng.

Cover image for Dragon Mage: An Epic Fantasy Adventure (Rivenworld Book 1).
A Well Written Fantasy with an Autistic Main Character

Still trying to get along better with my daughter, reading her Dragon Mage by ML Spencer, very scary, but very good.

Cover image for Loving Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder: How to Keep Out-of-Control Emotions from Destroying Your Relationship.

Just finished Loving Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder, a large chunk of both my family and my husband’s family are borderline, so it’s quite helpful, this book teaches you how to do DBT a treatment that can actually help those people and goes a long way for dealing with anyone easier.

I still feel overwhelmed with two kids, I feel like I’m trying to catch my breath and I can’t, but I experience moments of peace, when I play the piano for a few minutes, when I water the plants and notice a change in them, when I write (which I haven’t been) or brainstorm some goals on a note paper. I think right now I have to expand out my moments of peace rather than eliminating stress, because most of parenting, the crying, whining, falling down, cleaning, cooking, serving, being insulted, being interrupted, getting dirty, being exhausted, being dissatisfied, being confused… it’s just pure pain and stress to me.

No matter how I’ve tried to reframe the non-stop servitude, I haven’t succeeded in not being really tired of it all at the end of a real day. I don’t love it, not sure if I ever will. But I do love my kids, I just don’t love the nature of being a parent who does just about everything myself, even though I’m married. It made me mad at my husband at first, when we both worked, now that I don’t work, it makes me sad that the kids don’t get a whole lot of life lessons from him and I don’t get attention, love or a break from him, but at least we get money and at least things are peaceful between us. I’m tired, because I’m parenting for two to two kids, and that’s hard, it’s common, but it’s hard.

It’s been surprising that doing more doesn’t make it worse, doing other things take my mind of the bigger task, which is daunting, thankless, important, and tiring.

โ€œIf you plan for one year, plant kalo (taro). If you plan for 10 years, plant koa (a strong, native tree). If you plan for 100 years, teach the children.โ€

Hawaiian Proverb

I especially love this quote because it ties together my life, gardening veggies (including kalo), trees (including koa) and trying to teach my kids kindness and courage, and the less essential basic skills like reading.

Anyways, that’s life right now, kind of improving, but still off balance, hoping for a brighter future one day at a time.


๐Ÿ’€ Hidden Inspirations ๐ŸŒท

The awareness of life and death in the garden, is present, ever present, but softened by beauty.

Grim Fandango the most artistic game I’ve ever played.

Grim Fandango is a game where the dead go to work in cities like ours and there is corruption of afterlife train ticket theft… it’s a really cool game, very beautiful and funny.

In that game the dead become skeletons in the world of the dead, but if killed in that world they sprout blue flowers and die a final death.

There is a beautiful hill of blue flowers in the game, this picture doesn’t do it justice.

So, I want to turn my “pumpkin hill” garden into an emotional embrace of death and fall. Right now it was a huge chunk of ginger… like a 10’x4′ ginger bulb… which is bizarre. I chopped the stalks, threw 3 cubic feet of organic soil on top and planted pumpkins, yet the pumpkins “should be” 5′ apart and I had nothing else going on there…

Forget Me Nots $7 on Amazon

The Grim Fandango flowers have 8 petals and are not Forget Me Nots, but when adapting from Video Games into real life, there usually is a bit of a difference from reality that inspired the game, to the game, back to reality.


In the game Harvest Moo the “Blue Mist” flower has always been my favorite, it grows like a lily, but with colors of a Forget Me Not.

My favorite flower as a girl was a “Monkey’s Wort” which I can’t find in blue on the internet, but I loved the illustration I had on a learning poster, so I’m guessing it’s real and out there somewhere. It was blue, with a red stalk or runners… the combination of blue, red and green was somehow entrancing for me and also the idea of the ugly name with the beautiful appearance.

So, I’m putting the blue flower seeds on the pumpkin hill, they are said to be very easy and tolerant to either shade or sun, either wet soil or normal soil.

I ordered Blue, Yellow and Pink Flowers recently, the seeds came this week and I didn’t get started until today… because I didn’t even catch up to the morning glories I started on April 1st… so, I started finding places for the morning glories and put about a dozen into the garden… many got eaten in the shady part of the garden, not sure if it was chickens or slugs, they were there, then gone… and I know I have slugs and wild chickens.

The blue will make a fall themed garden, this is the song for that garden in my mind, Tchaikovsky’s Romance. I’ll be able to directly sow the blue flower, and should see them this year. The seeds are super tiny so it’s hard to handle them without them getting stuck together, they are black and even smaller than sesames, they look round to me.

The pink will go into the summer themed garden by the front of the house and along the dinning room windows. The pink flowers are from Spain, Canterbury bells, I think my climate will be okay, it’s possibly warm enough here in 10A. They are supposed to be germinated in complete darkness, so I can put down some card board, the pink flowers are a bit tall and I won’t see them the first year (just the greens). The seeds are long like tiny pencils, they look delicate and small. Once they germinate I’ll put them right in front of the windows and possibly along the pathway. The song for that garden is How Deep is Your Love by the Bee Gees, you need bees in the garden right… ha ha ha, ha.

The yellow will go into the spring garden, they are Marigolds, I’ve never done Marigolds before, they supposedly keep pests away (I hope so). I think I’ll rim around the whole drive way and square foot garden if I have enough sprouts, the version I have is “Lemon Gem” Tagetes tenuifolia, it should be able to go directly into the garden, but I think I’ll try greenhouse and direct sow on all three flowers just to see which works better here. My song for that is Moon Light Sonata by Beethoven, it’s dark, then light, it really lightens up at the end in my opinion like spring breaking through winter.

“The genus name Tagetes is for Tages, an Etruscan deity. The specific epithet tenuifolia means slender leaves.”

More About the Signet Marigolds

Of course me being me I also want to start a winter garden, but the bulbs for the white lilies (Easter lilies) I want there are not yet here…

I want to go take the chicks outside, so I’ll make this “to be continued” but I did notice it took a long time to allow myself these simple things I wanted and dreamed of, which were financially in my reach the whole time… and it always amazes me how individual plants are, some you can break apart with a shovel (like banana and ginger) and just stick in the ground, others like orchids are germinated in a flask with a partner fungal spore matching it individually (like a plant fungus soulmate) and everything in between. It still amazes me some seeds like beans and corn have strong roots, other ones like hemp will break if you transplant them, some plants like tulips are worth so much and other ones like dandelions are scorned (even though they are super healthy to make tea from).

Plants more than anything make me feel like “life wasn’t all for nothing”, don’t know if it’s true or untrue, but it’s a damn fine feeling in the morning and I like it.

Happy “you” day, thank you for being you and taking a moment to share a moment of my life, I’d love to share a moment of yours if you have a day in the life post or something like that please leave a link below I always wonder about the people I see reading, if you hate gardening, what you like, if you are surviving the pandemic alright…


๐Ÿ“š A Death of the Writer ๐Ÿ‘ป


My favorite writer died last year in September. But I found out today.

I can’t remember being sad in September when it happened.

I was a bit stunned today, it’s hard for me to imagine a world without Terry Goodkind.

I woke up early and was thinking of treating myself to a new book to read just for fun, something I don’t do often.

Since I’ve been 16 or so, 19 years… I’ve been reading his books, and they were my favorite.

I didn’t say that often because they are fiction and fantasy, I think a lot of people judge readers of fiction, that we are people who can’t handle reality, who escape into books that are similar to other books, just to escape having social skills and living “a real life”… And even when I do read fiction, I’m usually reading scifi, because there seems to be more.

I’ve always enjoyed scifi and fantasy, I also enjoy fiction and non-fiction (isn’t non-fiction just God’s fiction? anyways?), I also enjoy being alive and interacting with the world as well as reading.

Sometimes life is too painful to enjoy, it can be tolerated, but it stops being enjoyable. I guess books at times are my painkillers, because most of my pain is mental.

But there is something magical about books, the same way there is about gardens, or antiques, or paintings, or wine, or anything else.

Just the smell of books gives me hope life might be worth living.

Just a new book gives me hope, I may still become a better person, or find my long elusive purpose for being born and place in the world.

“To exist in this vast universe for a speck of time is the great gift of life. It is our only life. The universe will go on, indifferent to our brief existence, but while we are here, we touch not just part of that vastness, but also the lives around us. Life is the gift each of us has been given. Each life is our own and no one elseโ€™s. It is precious beyond all counting. It is the greatest value we can have. Cherish it for what it truly is . . . Your life is yours alone. Rise up and live it.”

– Terry Goodkind

Terry had a kindness that came through in his books, and an anger at life wasted. I never met him. I don’t know if I would have enjoyed meeting him or not. Without meeting him, he was a hero to me, if I had met him, he might have been a man.

When Stephen Hawking died a few years ago, I was sad, pretty sad, because he had always uplifted me. Someone struggling harder, but doing more, and with a smile and a joke, and time to encourage others. I guess that’s an English upside to offset the downside that if you don’t keep an eye on them they may colonize your homeland…

I felt silly with Stephen to grieve someone I didn’t know, though people do it, I still felt silly. But perhaps that is what was meant for humanity before it got too large.

In Canada I saw hikers were lost and died, the country lowered the flag for them, they didn’t have to be government officials, they didn’t have to be celebrities, they were Canadians, they were people there and that was enough to be valued and to be missed. It touched me forever.

I live in the US, it’s a big country, when I lived in Chicago I walked past homeless people’s frozen bodies downtown in order to get to my work. Before I could think about how I felt about it I absorbed the general vibe, which was a neutral vibe… as many people hated the homeless as were sad, and far more people felt nothing, because the homeless “people” weren’t people in the way they should be…

That’s normal that because you can’t process thousands of people mentally, they stop being people, it’s a normal part of city life. Then is city life even a life at all? If people stop being people to you and you to them?

So, Terry died last year, in the fall, and I wasn’t sad. Today I found out, this year, in the spring. And I was trying to understand why. If he died and I wasn’t sad, why now?

My Mental Theatre: “Death of a Favorite Writer”

Bitmoji Image

(Me Portraying Terry: Terry is now dead.)

Bitmoji Image
(Me Portraying Me: Sad that the connection we had – reader/writer – is now gone.)
(Me Portraying Terry’s Hypothetical Ghost: “Take some responsibility for your own life and deal with it…”)

Why am I sad? I didn’t know Terry in person.
Bitmoji Image
I am sad because of piece of me died with him.
Maybe I should write books, carry the torch forward as best I can, but I don’t know if I’m ready. Terry started at 45 and had a great and prolific collection, I suppose (at 35) I still have time to wait for the right time.
Me Questioning Myself, “what will I do differently now, how will I live?”
Me Answering Myself, “I’m going to try to appreciate books more, good books are few, great books are rare, the people who produce them have earned my appreciation.”

Bitmoji Image
I swear to myself to try to enjoy life more, give myself new books once a month rather than every three years (if I can), try to squeeze a little more zest and joie de vivre out of life, while I can.
literally dying
(Me Portraying Me: Now at Peace with Death)

I’m still going to miss being able to pick up a new Terry Goodkind book when I have $8 and the freetime to invest in a new book, I think I will always miss that. Seeing what new stuff he was up to was always worth the price of the ticket, though sometimes it was $24… His best and his worst books were still better for me than reading Robert Jordan, or other books in my preferred aisle of the book store.

Bitmoji Image
Terry Goodkind, planet leading master writer, RIP:
(January 11, 1948 โ€“ September 17, 2020)

I’ll still miss Terry, who I never met, but I know he would have wanted me to take actions towards a better world, rather than griping or sulking, that really seems to be who he was. The actions he took were sometimes written ones, sometimes deep thought, sometimes building, racing, regular actions, but he seemed to be a man of quiet but constant action and perhaps a big part of me is a kindred soul to that and the loss of any of us hits home with me.

It’s hard to transition from thinking about his death September 17th, but when someone dies, its a time to think of their life as a whole, see what can be learned or borrowed to help me on my journey… time to salvage the corpse for valuables (metaphorically). I know Terry was a fan of Ayn Randโ€™s philosophy of objectivism.

When I’m ready I’ll have to take a stoic vacation to objectivismville and see what’s there for me.

digging a hole


Terry Goodkind’s Wizard’s Rules (Used to Be on His Site, Which is Now Gone):

  1. “People are stupid; given proper motivation, almost anyone will believe almost anything. Because people are stupid, they will believe a lie because they want to believe it’s true, or because they’re afraid it might be true. Peoples’ heads are full of knowledge, facts and beliefs, and most of it is false, yet they think it all true. People are stupid; they can only rarely tell the difference between a lie and the truth, and yet they are confident they can, and so are all the easier to fool.”
    • Wizard’s First Rule, page 560[1]
  2. “The greatest harm can result from the best intentions.”
    • Stone of Tears, Chapter 63, page 886
  3. “Passion rules reason.”
    • Blood of the Fold, Chapter 43, page 360
  4. “There is magic in sincere forgiveness. Magic to heal. In forgiveness you grant, but more so in forgiveness you receive.”
    • Temple of the Winds, Chapter 41, page 318
  5. “Mind what people do, not only what they say, for deeds will betray a lie.”
    • Soul of the Fire, Chapter 28, page 205
  6. “The most important rule there is, the Wizard’s Sixth Rule: the only sovereign you can allow to rule you is reason. The first law of reason is this: what exists, exists, what is, is and from this irreducible bedrock principle, all knowledge is built. It is the foundation from which life is embraced.” โ€”ย Richard
    • Faith of the Fallen, Chapter 41, pages 459-60
  7. “Life is the future, not the past. The past can teach us, through experience, how to accomplish things in the future, comfort us with cherished memories, and provide the foundation of what has already been accomplished. But only the future holds life. To live in the past is to embrace what is dead. To live life to its fullest, each day must be created anew. As rational, thinking beings, we must use our intellect, not a blind devotion to what has come before, to make rational choices.”
    • The Pillars of Creation, Chapter 60, page 549
  8. “Talga Vassternich. Deserve Victory.”
    • Naked Empire, Chapter 61, page 626
  9. A contradiction cannot exist in reality. Not in part, nor in whole.
    • Chainfire, Chapter 48, page 489
  10. “Willfully turning aside from the truth is treason to one’s self.”
    • Phantom, Chapter 12, page 127
  11. “The rule of all rules. The rule unwritten.” The Unwritten rule. Knowledge is earned not given.
    • Confessor, Chapter 65, page 592
  12. You can destroy those who speak the truth, but you cannot destroy the truth itself.
    • The Omen Machine, Chapter 70, page 446
  13. Life gives dimension to time.
    • The Third Kingdom, Chapter 26, page 175.
  14. โ€œThere have always been those who hate, and there always will be.โ€
    • Severed Souls, Chapter 47, page 306
  15. โ€œIn this world, everyone must die. None of us has any choice in that. Our choice is how we wish to live.โ€
    • Warheart, Chapter 52, page 389