๐Ÿฅœ A Stay at Home Parent, Medical School Drop Out, Life Story in a Nutshell ๐Ÿฟ๏ธ

My daughter’s birthday is coming up, so I finished a three year photo book for her as a present, I’ve done that once before. Each year, is too much for me and once a lifetime would be too little. I find knowing your own limits is what matters, it doesn’t matter if your limits are ahead of other people or behind them as much as it matters that they are yours and that you know them.

So I was thinking three years is a more reasonable time to think in than one year. Yes in science the year has a meaning, the Earth does one orbit, but as a person I change more on a three year basis than a one year basis.

Example a baby, from zero, one and two they are mostly dependent, yes they learn to walk and talk, but they talk unclearly and depend on a lot. I guess I would call it the age of innocence, there may be some selfishness and lies, but mostly people this age can’t comprehend enough to even be guilty.

Three, four and five, mostly you can understand them, they have complicated feelings that they kind of understand, they can do a lot of things, yes are dependent for a lot of safety and other things, but there may be as many things they can do as can’t do. It’s much more mixed up what they can do, what they can understand, they are grappling with humanity already, death, ethics, social structure. So here is the age of exploration, knowing what kind of family you are from, an urban one, a mixed one, a fishing one, a musical one, ext.

Then six, seven, eight this is the beginning of advanced knowledge, digging deeper into interests and forgetting what isn’t relevant. I’ll call it the age of diverse growth.

Finishing my daughter’s first two books made me think of my past, the fact that I never sorted it out mentally, that I didn’t form a cohesive narrative of my own life, which is supposed to be a healthy thing to do.

Just touching on the first three ages, I would say during my age of innocence I really treasured my grandmother, but actually that wouldn’t be true, I lived with my grandmother more in my age of exploration. My memory is really twisted, I’m aware that memory is fallible, but even closer to the time things happened I had a tendency to be about two years off about what really happened.

I’m not interested in beginning an autobiography, but I am interested in piecing together a basic summary of my own life that is clear and cohesive. When I started college, I had a counseling class that assigned me that homework, but I wasn’t able to really deep dive into life then, even though I only had 16 years to go through, I couldn’t make those 16 years form meaning. I couldn’t sperate detail from main picture, I couldn’t face how little I had done or how painful some of the painful times were. I had all the same pieces as now, but I didn’t have the gluten to make them form up into anything sensical.

Anyways this is the second time I try, now I am 36, which is 12 “ages of my life”, but I feel more able to speak about the past now, now that it is the past, no one cares much. The people involved are really not those people any longer, as me, I’m at least half way not that person who lived the life I remember.

So I was born in 1985, 1985-1986-1987 were my “age of innocence,” my sister wasn’t born, for that time I was an only child, for that time I had a two parent family, but even in that time things were bad between my parents and I was aware of it much more than I wanted to be. I was the first child so my mom did her best, teaching me to read by two and in general throwing her 19 year old self into what her best was despite post partum depression and not all the wanting to be a mother instead of a teenager. I should be more grateful for that I am told, but I haven’t found a way yet to be grateful to a person who caused me pain more often than days that end in y.

1988-1989-1990 were my “age of exploration” these years I spent mostly in Hawaii, which has been my hometown in my heart, although it isn’t legally. This is when my mind was aware of the world to mark what it “should be like”.

1991-1992-1993 were my “age of diverse growth” I was moved to California to intentionally separate me from Hawaiian-American culture my mother thought should be beneath us… even though it was home for me, for my dad, it was an inferior and foreign life style for my mom and she didn’t want my heritage to rub of on who I became? My mom was embarrassingly racist and it shaped me in a way of me heading towards the diametric opposite. Looking back, I didn’t know the word for the feeling, but when my mom made stupid comments about telling me over and over not to wear my clothes the way black did, ext, I was ashamed. Ashamed to be a party to the conversation, unsure about exactly why it bothered me. Every time I felt like she was degrading me, degrading herself much more than the obvious disrespect towards whatever the target group was. Many people of the past were racist too, it makes the “Great American Heros” a bit less great when they were known to rape their slaves even though they were married and Christian… People tell me I have to judge people by the times they lived in, but I don’t believe that in my heart. Doing evil things, I think you know, I think you lack restraint and make excuses, but I think they knew very well rape was wrong, because they didn’t want it done to their loved ones. That indicates that they very well knew it was wrong. Anyways my mom had no heroic feature to her to counterbalance the racism, just a drug habit and a bipolar disposition. I knew something was wrong with her, I knew it was hard for me to live with her, I knew something was deeply wrong with our family in general, that life shouldn’t be quiet as FUBAR as it inevitably was (or I hoped at least). I had self worth issues, I loved reading to escape and to learn and just the art of words, but I also wanted to set myself apart that way, I claimed the identity of an “intellectual” I was hoping to build a castle in the sky on bricks of books and smartness.

1994-1995-1996 “age of dreams” Life was all over the place, my parents divorced, I was shuffled back and forth, the one child of two, who neither parent wanted. It was all messed up, but my identity apart from my parents as “an intellectual gem” and “a future success” made me feel like there were better things coming soon as long as I worked on myself and kept “believing in my dreams”.

1997-1998-1999 “age of excess” I became an active alcoholic during this time period, even though I was a minor, for some reason I thought I had better do it before college since I would have to focus then. I don’t know how I feel about it after all this time, I’m not ashamed, I’m not even sure I could have done better, it was basically the stress management technique I was able to discover first and I feel like I really needed something. In hind sight there may have better ways, but I didn’t have any meditation or therapy or yoga or even a squishy stress ball, I didn’t have anything better in real life to deal with the misery and disappointment of a broken family. It would be easy to say “I could have done better” but really I did the best I could at that time and I couldn’t really “have done better” even if I can “do better now”,

2000-2001-2002 “age of great expectations” I started college, life seemed hopeful. I was 16, I was smart, it was a time classes were short due to low funding, it took longer to get the classes I needed, significantly longer, but it wasn’t my fault personally, so I didn’t add guilt on top of disappointment, but just hoped it work out and gave life my all. I worked hard, not smart, working graveyard at a doughnut store all night and going strait to class the next morning. It was a rough adjustment, I was a self appointed semi-genius as a child, but about a so so student in college and I didn’t quite understand why. Basically everyone goes to school as a child so there are people doing poorly because they don’t want to be there or can’t do better in the conditions that are given, in college many people that don’t want to be there, aren’t there, so it’s a tougher pool of intellectuals to mentally tower over… I did my best, but poor time management, poor life management, being free to make choices with pretty much no leadership skills, it was really rough.

2003-2004-2005 “age of community college” I remember these years the least… I was 18, 19, 20, what a lot of people say are the good times, I remember taking a lot of math classes, a lot of science classes. When I started college at 16 there were major problems in my state college system, but no one in a place of power cared enough to fix them, like a main street under construction causing crazy traffic for those who have to use the street, everyone not involved didn’t care much… but anyways. I also had to go backwards in math to go forwards, that was because I had a terrible time with fractions and surprisingly fractions are all over science, so I had to go back and retake everything from beginning algebra to calculus, that march of math dominated my time. Science labs and classes were no joke, but nothing takes up a lot of time like math homework for the struggling math student. For my major I would need a biology, chemistry and a math or physics each semester to be on time, I was lucky if I got the right biology, chemistry or physics alone in a year, that made it three times longer to get a two year degree, plus the times when I missed the sequence, because physics was a three class sequence that started only every so often, as was biology a five sequence class, and chemistry a five sequence class, miss the sequence, the next class wouldn’t be next semester it would be in a year, but that didn’t mean there was space available. I was poor, I was a student and in a way I was also a poor student. Meaning I didn’t have great study skills, little did I know I wouldn’t really need the classes I took for a job, I was working really hard to build a debt that wouldn’t pay off later. The reality was the opposite of everything society brainwashed me to believe. I like the knowledge, but financially I still haven’t made more and have made a lot less due to being a graduate in my exact case.

2006-2007-2008 “age of the real world” at 21 I was trying my best in college, but starting to notice that I was taking forever to finish or even progress, I wanted to support myself so I worked on an ambulance 72+ hours a week. That sounds so good, but it’s a trap for many people, it makes studying difficult, but it’s still possible, so you keep pushing. You notice one other student succeed so you think you can, but you don’t notice the nine others who drop out or never finish. There is nothing wrong with that job as a job, but it’s not a good stepping stone, it’s not a great study environment, what it is is a near entry level, near minimum wage job, with not a lot of upward mobility. I was still in community college during this time, but somehow work seemed real and college seemed more and more like a ghost ship that faded when the sun rose.

2009-2010-2011 “age of minimum wage and internet college” What is more fun then minimum wage working in Hospice? Minimum wage working in hospice while doing internet college so you can imagine that someday your life that hasn’t made emotional sense or fiscal sense will at least make fiscal sense someday (but little do you know you are horribly wrong to assume that what they told you – education will get you a good paying job – is horribly riddled with restrictions that apply). Good news I got a degree, good new I got into medical school, bad news not in my own state and that meant… it didn’t end up working out for me, it’s okay it’s not like it was a huge financial, temporal, existential and emotional waste of energy. Ha, ha, ha. Those MCATs are so fun, studying for them, taking them repeatedly to continue scoring averagely because you are very average yourself, what fun.

2012-2013-2014 “age of true love and true disappointment” This was a bitter sweet set of years, I fell in love, got engaged, had some of the best years of my life, but also moved in with my fiancรฉ and had some of the most irritating years of my life as my husband had different standards and was passive aggressive and pouty about asking me to meet his expectations or setting or communicating his boundaries. There three years have the most days I would want to go back to and the most days I would never want to go back to.

2015-2016-2017 “age of marriage being a mom” I got married, then boom, I was a first time mother, I concieved four days after being married, miscarried a baby, kept the twin, was extra vomity for the duration, had my first baby, had a short intense post partum depression that runs in the family and moved on to struggling to be “perfect” after the baby even though I had never been perfect before. I had no married life not related to pregnancy or kids and I don’t think that is optimal for my marriage, but I guess I will never really know, maybe it is what kept us together? Who knows.

2018-2019-2020 “age of special needs training” I had a second pregnancy and left the work force, after having always worked from 14-34 it was weird how my identity immediately abandoned wanting to be in the work force. It was weird feeling like a servant and a maid since everyone assumed I want to do their dishes, laundry, clean their spills since I’m already cleaning my kids dishes, laundry, spills. I damn don’t. I may not tell everyone face to face, but it’s nice to say it here. I don’t want to clean your mess because I have kids, I don’t even want to clean my kids mess, the only mess I remotely want to clean is my own. That the truth. During these years it becomes painfully obvious I have a special needs kid, I get her a diagnosis and the long long road to finding appropriate treatment and doing that treatment and approaching a faรงade of normalcy.

2021 “age of the brave new world” The pandemic has been rough, but one thing it did was make a new division in my life, there was that time before the pandemic, and there is this time now. I live in “the future” I dreamed of as a child, I am no longer a child, it is the 2020 times, not many flying cars (the tech is there, but they are too expensive to insure), but yes day jobs, yes traffic, yes high cost of living, it’s like a ground car the Jetsons.

Okay so it’s not perfect, kind of bitter and sarcastic, yet I’m still kind of glad that I did look back on my life, like I was supposed to be able to do many times in the past, but couldn’t really.

“When enough years had gone by to enable us to look back on them, we sometimes discussed the events leading to his accident.”

– Harper Lee “To Kill a Mocking Bird”


โ˜” Week 34 – The Stoic Life ๐Ÿ–๏ธ

Before: Boring Task List

Cleaning List Before (Google Keep)

Using Zazzle to make images to help me focus or get inspired, is one of my “jams”, I don’t buy them, I 1. personalize with edit and 2. then take a screen shot via “print screen”, 3. paste to sketchpad.io (via control + v) and viola, I have a more inspiring picture that is still clear.

After: Fun Inspiring Task List

Cleaning List Now (Zazzle – Cute Cartoon Vacuum House Cleaning Services Business Card)
So I can just see my daily tasks I separate them.

Living Stoic Quotes: Week 34

โ€œNothing is burdensome if taken lightly, and nothing need arouse one’s irritation so long as one doesn’t make it bigger than it is by getting irritated.โ€

– Seneca

My daughter just let me know she liked the pirate show she went to yesterday, at 6:45 AM, she let me know she wanted cereal at 6:45 AM… it makes me mad actually, because she is damn loud and other people are trying to sleep.

But I should take it lightly, I should remember she is five years old. Five year olds should be annoying and she is, so great, everything fine here.

Take it lightly… not don’t pretend it’s not annoying, but yes, take it lightly that it is annoying.

Take It Easy

Don’t let the sound of your own wheels
Drive you crazy. Lighten up while you still can
Don’t even try to understand.
Just find a place to make your stand…

 – The Eagles

“In every life we have some trouble
But when you worry you make it double

The landlord say your rent is late
He may have to litigate
Don’t worry, be happy.”

 – Bobby McFerrin

Todo aquel que piense que la vida siempre es cruel (Anyone thinking that life is always cruel)
Tiene que saber que no es asรญ (Needs to know that it’s not like that)
Que tan solo hay momentos malos (That those are only bad moments)

y todo pasa. (And everything passes)

Todo aquel que piense que esto nunca va a cambiar (Anyone thinking this will never change)
Tiene que saber que no es asรญ (Needs to know)
Que al mal tiempo, buena cara, y todo cambia. (At a bad moment, have a good outlook, and everything changes)

– รšrsula Hilaria Celia Caridad Cruz Alfonso

Seneca’s statement that “Nothing is burdensome if taken lightly,” doesn’t say that it is easy to do that or that nothing irritating or bad happens in life, but that making it a bigger irritation will make it worse. It doesn’t say, you have to smile, you have to like it, you have to find a good in it, it just says don’t make it worse on yourself.

One thing that helps me not get irritated with the kids is “Father Forgets”,

โ€œListen, son; I am saying this as you lie asleepone little paw crumpled under your cheek and the blond curls stickily wet on your damp forehead. I have stolen into your room alone. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a stifling wave of remorse swept over me. Guiltily I came to your bedside.

There are things I was thinking, son: I had been cross to you. I scolded you as you were dressing for school because you gave your face merely a dab with a towel. I took you to task for not cleaning your shoes. I called out angrily when you threw some of your things on the floor.

At breakfast, I found fault, too. You spilled things. You gulped down your food. You put your elbows on the table. You spread butter too thick on your bread. And as you started off to play and I made for my train, you turned and waved a hand and called, โ€œGoodbye, Daddy!โ€ and I frowned, and said in reply, โ€œHold your shoulders back!โ€

Then it began all over again in the late afternoon. As I came Up the road, I spied you, down on your knees, playing marbles. There were holes in your stockings. I humiliated you before you boyfriends by marching you ahead of me to the house. Stockings were expensive โ€“ and if you had to buy them you would be more careful! Imagine that, son, from a father!

Do you remember, later, when I was reading in the library, how you came in timidly, with a sort of hurt look in your eyes? When I glanced up over my paper, impatient at the interruption, you hesitated at the door. โ€œWhat is it you want?โ€ I snapped.

You said nothing, but ran across in one tempestuous plunge, and threw your arms around my neck and kissed me, and your small arms tightened with an affection that God had set blooming in your heart and which even neglect could not wither. And then you were gone, pattering up the stairs.

Well, son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slipped from my hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me. What has habit been doing to me? The habit of finding fault, of reprimanding โ€“ this was my reward to your for being a boy. It was not that I did not love you; it was that I expected too much of youth. I was measuring you by the yardstick of my own years.

And there was so much that was good and fine and true in your character. The little heart of you was as big as the dawn itself over the wide hills. This was shown by your spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me good night. Nothing else matters tonight, son. I have come to your bedside in the darkness, and I have knelt there, ashamed!

It is a feeble atonement; I know you would not understand these things if I told them to you during your waking hours. But tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you, and suffer when you suffer and laugh when you laugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come. I will keep saying as if it were a ritual: โ€œHe is nothing buy a boy โ€“ a little boy!โ€

I am afraid I have visualized you as a man. Yet as I see you now, son, crumpled and weary in your cot, I see that you are still a baby. Yesterday you were in your motherโ€™s arms, your head on her shoulder. I have asked too much, too much.โ€

– W. Livingston Larned

But oh how fast I forget the feeling I have when I read that and go back to being irritated that my kids yell at me, ask for things they know are against the rules over and over, vie for attention, bicker over the smallest toy, refuse to use the toilet and then have an accident…

Part of it is that I hate it when they act dumb, and I don’t just let myself hate it. I don’t say internally, yep they are acting dumb again because their brains are like 50-70% functional so far… I try so hard to repress my truth that it keeps amplifying until I can’t ignore the truth of what I am feeling.

If I admit I hate kids acting normally in annoying ways it seems like I hate kids, and if I do hate kids I have two, and then if I hate kids and have two, I must not be good at making big decisions…

So either I’m not good at making big decisions or I hate kids… yet I think everyone really hates kids. Or most people. If most people didn’t hate kids there wouldn’t be 55 and older housing, that’s just there to avoid people raising young kids or who are young adult (older kids, the brain is “adult” at 26).

Yes we all hate kids, that’s why we don’t let them be many places that would be safe for them. Perhaps we also love kids, but the evidence of hating them is the children’s section at the library… go to your own section kids, despite your reading level, just go there.

Why do we old people hate kids? The noise is the big thing. Not all kids are noisy, but with no recourse to yell at, hit, kill, or explain to loud kids that are not your kids, kids have the power to interrupt peace and quiet pretty easily.

I really like quiet, but I was foolish in that as a quiet person I thought I would naturally have quiet kids, I was wrong. Very wrong.

So each time my kids are loud I see my own stupidity of thinking they would be quiet, I also don’t see how to fix the problem I’ve created for myself.

Kids tend to be happy being loud and be loud when they are happy, I tend to be happy when the environment is quiet and be quiet when I am happy.

So, it’s my fault and I don’t have a solution, but I shouldn’t take it out on the kids, they didn’t ask to be born into my family.

Maybe I’ll just keep earplugs on all day and tell them to email me if they have any questions?

One thing is that they will grow up, the little one is two, I’m guessing at six they will be decently not annoying, so four more years perhaps of almost non-stop annoying behavior I hate. Yet it’s my own fault and I will try to remember not to make it bigger than it is, because it will just be worse on me that way, which in a way is worse on everyone.

Note to self: Illegitimi non carborundum.


๐Ÿง  Neuroscience ๐Ÿคฏ

01 emotional brain

Neuroscience – Mild Irritation would trigger the amygdala but as the hypothalamus shifts into a rage where thinking and well being diminish. Of course it’s more complicated because the hypothalamus does so much, love, happiness, lactation, rage and more… but there is a real shift from a bit irritated to rage and that is not a deeper shade of gray, but a whole different animal best avoided most of the time, or when logic is needed. ๐Ÿง 

๐Ÿ”ญ Self Leadership ๐ŸŒŸ

Letting go of baggage:

I wake up in the morning to do self leadership, but I’ve been really scattered about exactly what that is and what to do in that time.

Before looking at books or things like that I want to define my own metric and set my own intentions. Basically I want to be mindful about what I’m going to do with my life that day. I know I may get off track later, but I do want to know, at least in the beginning what I will be doing.

One thing I noticed is that I am greatly aided by habits, if I always wash dishes, it becomes easy to do that, so I am making the habit of having self leadership time in the morning without even knowing what to do with it.

My daughter gets up at about 6 AM and tries to talk to me, I felt bad asking her not to, but 1. I need my own time, 2. she is loud, 3. I will not be nice to her if I’m talking to her before I really wake up and have coffee, because I’m not the sweetest person in the world. So I may as well let go of feeling bad for not wanting to talk to her in the morning and let her draw or do something she enjoys that is something else. I hate talking to anyone during the early morning, not just her. And my well being matters as much as hers, so I should stop feeling bad about it… it’s hard though. I feel like each chance to connect I don’t take I may regret later, yet I thus far have never regretted not talking to people from 6-7AM.

At my core is a little girl who was lonely, didn’t have anyone to talk to most of the day, grew into the silence, and eventually became so used to silence everything else is annoying.

I can’t really be present with myself when others are telling me what they think and feel, it’s not that I never care or want to hear, but it takes me away from being able to really check in with myself and figure out what I really want from life, eventually I get angry without knowing why. Because I’m not getting/giving myself what I need to thrive, which includes a little peace and calm in everyday.

I feel guilty for hating that my kids wake up early, it sure does make getting to school, or being on time for anywhere easier, I can feel that they will have an easy time leaving for work in the distant future, yet it means the struggle for personal time starts literally at dawn.

My kids don’t like me to have a potty break, a water break, they want me to serve food and drinks and bring towels and then run off to play without eating myself, they want me to play with them, look at their drawing, load their video game, say good job, ask about their “secrets”, look at their tiny scratch, they want me to be a constant spectator in their lives, and I get sucked into it so badly that I forget to be a spectator, coach or player in my own life. It’s a huge weak point for me, because I do love them and they are a priority, but both of them would grind me into the dust each day if I didn’t fight for my water break, potty break, meal breaks, cleaning breaks ext.

They have this desire to be seen and loved, and I want to see them and love them, but the amount of time they want and what I have to give them is a huge conflict. I’m still looking for a solution for that. Right now my daughter just brought me a rainbow picture to look at and said please look at this… a “good mom” would have perhaps like to, but I balled my fists up to not be rude, because I was questioned over and over at 6:20 about breakfast, I served breakfast at 6:58, and got interrupted again and again and again to brush hair, answer questions ext and I hate it. I don’t care about the rainbow picture, I can’t remember any times I enjoyed looking at my daughter’s pictures and I’m getting so close to saying that to her. Which makes me feel guilty. But it doesn’t help me shift into a mode where I like to be interrupted and look at her drawings. I like to see her in the process of drawing, I like to know she is doing well, but I just want to be left alone.

I’m noticing I have some anger and deep bitterness, it’s perhaps not pretty on paper (or in person) yet writing it makes me feel better.

The difference between the life I want and the life I have is the anger and burnout inside of my heart.

I am responsible for my life, I am the adult, but I’m only human, my boundary setting skills are low, my conflict resolution skills are low, my EQ is low, those lagging skills make it an uphill boundary to get enough time for myself.

If my kids had conflict resolution I wouldn’t need to be involved with trying to help with that and melt downs, EQ would speed up issues with family conflict so it didn’t waste an hour or half hour to talk things through and apologize, boundaries would give me the time to get my responsibilities done and not feel bad about putting them off because my life was too chaotic.

At the heart of my problem is that I have a special needs child and I always pencil her in for a regular needs time slot, I at some level don’t want to believe she is high needs, I know at some level that I, as I am, am pretty unhappy and uncapable of dealing with a special needs child. It scares me. It scares me to know that I am short tempered and independent and I somehow am supposed to step into a role that patient and nurturing people would be good at. It puts me in the position of either trying to be someone I’m not, or being uncomfortable with my workload.

It’s more work on a daily basis and I don’t enjoy it, I became burnt out a long time ago, guilting myself that my kids childhood passing doesn’t help the burnout at all. Knowing it will be over someday gives me hope that I will have wellbeing again, someday, but it doesn’t really let me know how to thrive now.

I know some people thrive, and possibly some people with kids thrive, but I’ve never done it. So six years into having kids, it’s a depressing span to be failing.

The whole time I didn’t give myself the time I need to be well.

I don’t want to wait for my kids to grow up to be well again, to enjoy life again, to be clear about who I am and what I like to do again. I don’t want to, but I don’t know if I will fight hard enough to establish boundaries to crawl out of the burnout ditch I’m in.

I don’t know if I can, I don’t know if I will, but I want to.

I don’t like who I am as a parent, I’ve become bitter, I’m rushing myself to help, so much so that the help is resentful and no one likes to live with a resentful person.

It’s not who I used to be, not who I want to be, but I’m not sure of a path forward.

Perhaps when I get angry I shouldn’t “try to be more patient”, but rather take a break from doing things I hate and resent (but may need to get done at some point) and actually do something with my life I enjoy at all?

Perhaps my anger is there to remind me I’m dying each day and I should enjoy life TODAY, at least a little bit?

I guess I have a tendency to let myself become mentally a martyr mom, I do less than other moms already, so I think “I’m not doing enough for them,” and people in my life are quick to join in and think of things I’m not doing enough of, enough cleaning the whole family’s mess, enough supporting the whole family’s emotions (which I hate), enough spending time with my kids because they are still acting up and my dad thinks it’s because they don’t get enough attention… but if I stop for a minute and think I can’t do this much without being burnt out, so I shouldn’t add more, I shouldn’t buy into what other people would like to burden me with… that makes more sense. It makes sense that I would need to do less, take a break, make an attempt at healing from the burnout now instead of in 16 years… after being bitter for my children’s whole childhood.

I need to slow down a bit, I need to fight for time alone, I need that time alone, I need to make new habits.

In essence I need to consider myself equal to the kids, so it’s not them eating and me washing their dishes and drying them and setting up their next toys without eating myself. That needs to stop or I’m never going to not be bitter and I won’t even stay well enough to do that anyways.

Also I need to prioritize by energy not just time. Right now the limiting resource is energy.

I need to shift from sprint pace to marathon pace.

In “The Last Green Valley” there is a time when the horse wagon driver has to whip his two horses to avoid being caught in a tank battle, I’ve been treating myself like that for too long.

I’ve been bearing the burden of being responsible for my kids alone for too long, now that my daughter is in a school a few hours I clean and take care of my son and I am still busy and I can see that I had too much to do before.

Some kids need one on one attention, if you have one and have another kid, wow, it’s kind of brutal, but no one may notice because normal kids can be handled in groups of two or four or whatever. But my reality is I have a child who would do better one on one and a second child and it’s going to be a little FUBAR even on a good day.

So I need to prioritize what I want to get done, know that it will take a lot of effort to appear as if we are normal, when we really are not, and forgive myself that every one in my life makes comments about my being an “underperformer” compared to before.

I notice that I’ve been off loading a lot of emotional baggage and also strategizing how I can be a different person in the way I set boundaries, I think that is probably something that will come up a lot during self leadership.

Yesterday, the week wasn’t updated, some of the project list wasn’t either.
Today, I changed “people” to tidying and updated some of the other things…

Focusing on what I want:

โ€œHow do you defeat terrorism? Donโ€™t be terrorized.โ€

-Salmal Rushdie

The kids in a way terrorize me, or I let myself be terrorized by them. Also cleaning and meal planning, it feels like they are ahead and I’m behind and getting further and further behind.

Today we decluttered the office, I watered most of the plants, I think I will alternate between the front and the back watering rather than try to do it all each day, I think that may be alright.

This is a super mundane post, but I’m going to post it anyways because something about that makes me more accountable.


๐Ÿคบ Working Through Overwhelm โœ”๏ธ

Working with the list of things to do and things on my mind from the last post:

Adult Stuff: Medical Form to Fax ๐ŸŽ‰, Insurance Form to Fax ๐ŸŽ‰, Additional ID Source to Get Before Appointment for Licence (Tried to Log In but Security Shut Out)… bait cockroaches every two months ๐ŸŽ‰ , bathe dogs when they scratch ๐ŸŽ‰ wash their bedding Sunday and Thursday ๐ŸŽ‰ , poison slugs ongoing during dry weeks ๐ŸŽ‰ .

Building Stuff: Mosquito Netting on Patio, Mosquito Netting by Pond, Drip Irrigation for Hedges, Filter for Gutter

Farm Stuff: Watering, Lawn, Fertilizing Hedges, Prune Veggies, Transplant, Build More Garden Beds, Mulch, Tidy Paths, Pathway Edging, Large Back Pond, Small Side Pond, New Pond, Aquaponic System Switch, Mushroom Logs, Bonsai Area, Water System, Watermellon Trial Locations, Moss Garden, Weed Rasberry, Weed Ginger, Set Up Compost System, Source Clemintine Trees, Research Wasabi Root

Minimalist Stuff: Declutter: 1. Office, 2. Closet 1, 3. Closet 2, 4. Green House, 5. Green House 2, 6. Patio, 7. Chicken Coopย 8. Bathroom, 9. Kitchen 10. Clean Windows

Personal Stuff: 1. Cello, 2. Piano, 3. Time with Child, ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ 4. Meal Planning, 5. Cleaning Routine, 6. Exercise, ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ 7. Writing, 8. Art Projects, 9. Reading

Responsibilities: 1. Care for 5-Year-Old, 2. Care for 2-Year-Old, 3. Clean Dishes, 4. Prep Meals, 5. Watch Fish, 6. Feed Dogs, ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ 7. Let Out Chickens, 8. Put Away Chickens, 9. Feed Chickens, 10. Wash Dogs, 11. Shush Dogs, 12. Educate 5-Year-Old, ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ 13. Prep 2-Year Old for school, ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ 14. PCIT Training Each Day, 15. Reading with Kids, 16. Doing Laundry, 17. Pick Up from School, 18. Drop Off from School, 19. Constant Emails from School, ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ 20. Sending Photos and taking Calls from Husband, ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ 21. Picking Up and Dropping Off Dad and Sister from Airport.

Extra Issues: 47. Fixing pond leak, ๐ŸŽ‰ 48. fixing pond flow rate, ๐ŸŽ‰ 49. wondering if husband will move to my state or buy home in his state,๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ 50. wondering how daughter will adjust to school, ๐ŸŽ‰ 51. wondering if Iโ€™m doing the right things in life, 52. wondering what my purpose is,๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ 53. struggling to get along well with dad. ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ

Pandemic Issues: 54. ethical questioning if I owe others to get vaccinated, ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ 55. needing masks, ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ 56. remembering masks, 57. needing to wash kids mask, ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ 58. needing to answer questions to kids about COVID again and again, ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ 59. needing to remind kid about mask, ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ 60. fighting with family about COVID, ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ 61. fighting with kids to wear mask, ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ 62. hating COVID, ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ 63. hating government, ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ 64. hating hating COVID, ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ 65. hating hating government, ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ 66. hating COVID opinion shouting, ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ 67. hating the waiting feeling, 68. hating not knowing if things will ever really go back to being non-germaphobic again. 69. hating the stress of COVID with little kids together. ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ

Philosophical issues: Separation Anxiety 69. Am I doing enough to help others, ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ 70. am I a decent person, 71. does it matter what an individual does, ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ 72. does life go on, ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ 73. is there more life in the galaxy, ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ 74. will we leave Earth soon for Mars ext, ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ 75. should I be more patient or am I right to be who I am as I am, ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ76. what meaning should I ascribe to my life, 77. am I living fully, 78. do I need to exercise for health or is it a waste of time when healthy, ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ 79. should I be eating meat or not ethically, ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ 80. should I be doing more for the environment, ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ 81. should I be doing more for orphans, ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ 82. should I have written a book as I committed to doing, ๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ 83. am I pushing myself too hard or not enough?

Doing some stuff today and letting go of a lot mentally because I see how it isn’t helping or fun or necessary to think about all the things “other people/family/the news says to think about”, it becomes:

Adult Stuff: Additional ID Source to Get Before Appointment for Licence (Done for now: bait cockroaches every two months, bathe dogs when they scratch, wash their bedding Sunday and Thursday, poison slugs ongoing during dry weeks.)

Responsibilities: 1. Care for 5-Year-Old, 2. Care for 2-Year-Old, 3. Clean Dishes, 4. Prep Meals, 5. Watch Fish, 6. Let Out Chickens, 7. Put Away and Feed Chickens, 8. Wash Dogs, 9. Shush Dogs, 10. PCIT Training Each Day, 11. Reading with Kids, 12. Doing Laundry, 13. Pick Up from School, 14. Drop Off from School, 15. Picking Up and Dropping Off Dad and Sister from Airport.

Minimalist Stuff: Declutter: 1. Office, 2. Closet 1, 3. Closet 2, 4. Green House, 5. Green House 2, 6. Patio, 7. Chicken Coop 8. Bathroom, 9. Kitchen 10. Clean Windows

Pandemic Issues: 1. remembering masks, 2. hating the waiting feeling, ๐Ÿ”ฅ 3. hating not knowing if things will ever really go back to being non-germaphobic again. ๐Ÿ”ฅ

Personal Stuff: 1. Cello, 2. Piano, 3. Meal Planning, 4. Cleaning Routine, 5. Writing, 6. Art Projects, 7. Reading

Philosophical issues: 1. Separation Anxiety 2. am I a decent person? 3. what meaning should I ascribe to my life? 4. am I living fully? 5. am I pushing myself too hard or not enough? 6. wondering if Iโ€™m doing the right things in life?

Farm Stuff: Watering, Lawn, Fertilizing Hedges, Prune Veggies, Transplant, Build More Garden Beds, Mulch, Tidy Paths, Pathway Edging, Large Back Pond, Small Side Pond, New Pond, Aquaponic System Switch, Mushroom Logs, Bonsai Area, Water System, Watermellon Trial Locations, Moss Garden, Weed Rasberry, Weed Ginger, Set Up Compost System, Source Clemintine Trees, Research Wasabi Root

Building Stuff: Mosquito Netting on Patio, Mosquito Netting by Pond, Drip Irrigation for Hedges, Filter for Gutter

Then letting go as much as I can of all pandemic stress, which I just don’t want to give any more energy to:

Adult Stuff: 1. Additional ID Source to Get Before Appointment for Licence, 2. Clean Windows (Done for now: A. bait cockroaches every two months, B. bathe dogs when they scratch, C. wash their bedding Sunday and Thursday, D. poison slugs ongoing during dry weeks.)

Responsibilities: 1. Care for kids, 2. Foodservice 3. Feed Fish, 4. Chicken Feed and Cooping, 5. Dog Wash and Shush, 6. Playtime with kids, 7. Reading with Kids, 8. Laundry, 9. School Transport 10. Airport transport. 11. Remember mask.

Minimalist Stuff: Declutter: 1. Office, 2. Closets, 3. Green Houses, 4. Patio, 5. Chicken Coop 6. Bathrooms, 7. Kitchen

Personal Stuff: 1. Cello, 2. Piano, 3. Meal Planning, 4. Cleaning Routine, 5. Writing, 6. Art Projects, 7. Reading

Mindfulness: 1. Separation Anxiety 2. am I a decent person? 3. what meaning should I ascribe to my life? 4. am I living fully? 5. am I pushing myself too hard or not enough? 6. wondering if Iโ€™m doing the right things in life?

Farm Stuff: 1. Watering, 2. Lawn, 3. Fertilizing Hedges/Drip System, 5. Prune, 6. Transplant, 7. Build More Garden Beds, 8. Mulch, 9. Tidy Paths, 10. Pathway Edging, 11. Ponds, 12. Aquaponic System Switch, Mushroom Logs, Bonsai Area, Water System, Watermellon Trial Locations, Moss Garden, Weed, Compost, Buy Clemintine Trees, Research Wasabi Root

Home Improvement Stuff: Mosquito Netting on Patio, Mosquito Netting by Pond, Filter for Gutter

So now I can make a note of the list and a shorter list as well:

Priority Stuff: Get Additional ID Source to Get Before Appointment for Licence, clean windows, play with kids, declutter office, play cello, ask if I’m living fully?, water plants.

So, adding two notes to Google Keep, a master to do and a pinned shorter to do… using bitmoji for pictures.

This last step is important, bridging what I want to do and what I can remember I want to do in real life is important.

So I’ll keep trying to build my hard habits and get through my tasks and maybe I’ll try to wake up earlier to check into the master list and move things from the master list to the priority list as possible.

Just doing this exercise has made me feel more on top of things, it motivated me to get the faxes out that needed to go out and so I see that right now when I have a minute I can clean windows or play cello to make progress towards my overall goals of a well-balanced life and/or a clean organized home.


๐Ÿ’ฃ The Last Green Valley ๐Ÿž๏ธ

Just read “The Last Green Valley,” by Mark Sullivan, it was a historical fiction book based on a real story of a farming family who had to leave East Europe to find somewhere to thrive, which eventually they did in Montana.

I feel so many parallels to the book in my own life, that I can’t comment on it as a book.

The main characters are a couple, a man who doubts himself and feels a loss of control, a mother who is fairly consumed with taking care of her two children in troubled times without her husband. I feel like both people. I don’t know if it was intended in the writing, but the book seems to draw you into all the people as mirrors of yourself.

Since moving to the house I live in now we had slugs (gray, Cuban, semi-slugs, and leopard slugs), skip beetles, spiders, mice, feral cats, orb weaver spiders, plaster bagworms, hammerhead worms, fire ants, German cockroaches, and now fleas. I think the fleas are under control, with boric acid and salt, vacuuming, bathing the dogs, cleaning the baseboards with soap and water, steaming the floor and baseboards, but who knows. I also poisoned the slugs again today, but that is never-ending. We also have mosquitos, flies, and stray chickens, but for some reason, those just seem normal and inevitable.

So again I’m behind in my gardening and organizing, but that’s just life, at least the main parts of the house are useable and pretty decent looking.

So I’m trying to think of an inventory of what needs to get done and it’s so much I feel like I have to write it out this time:

Adult Stuff: Medical Form to Fax, Insurance Form to Fax, Additional ID Source to Get Before Appointment for Licence

Building Stuff: Mosquito Netting on Patio, Mosquito Netting by Pond, Drip Irrigation for Hedges, Filter for Gutter

Minimalist Stuff: Declutter: Office, Closet 1, Closet 2, Green House, Green House 2, Patio, Chicken Coop

Farm Stuff: Lawn, Fertilizing Hedges, Prune Veggies, Transplant, Build More Garden Beds, Mulch, Tidy Paths, Pathway Edging, Large Back Pond, Small Side Pond, New Pond, Aquaponic System Switch, Pest Control of Slugs, Mushroom Logs, Bonsai Area, Water System, Watermellon Trial Locations, Moss Garden, Weed Rasberry, Weed Ginger, Set Up Compost System, Source Clemintine Trees, Research Wasabi Root

I felt a little stupid that I have to write out what I’m trying to think about doing soon, but now that I see it, I understand why I’m overwhelmed and a lot of my life has shifted.

It used to be my problems with my daughter and enrichment of her education took up 70% of my mental energy, but today she is in kindergarten at a wonderful charter school we were unexpectedly able to get into via lottery.

So they are now my village and I’m able to do other things now that were really too much before, I’m able to start doing more enrichment with my second child, get the house “really” clean, think about cooking better food, possibly exercise, play cello, play piano, read, write, draw, work on projects…

Personal Stuff: Cello, Piano, Time with Child, Meal Planning, Cleaning Routine, Exercise, Writing, Art Projects, Reading

So, it’s a lot of things swirling around my head.

Adult Stuff: 1. Medical Form to Fax, 2. Insurance Form to Fax, 3. Additional ID Source to Get Before Appointment for Licence

Building Stuff: 1. Mosquito Netting on Patio, 2. Mosquito Netting by Pond, 3. Drip Irrigation for Hedges, 4. Filter for Gutter

Minimalist Stuff: Declutter: 1. Office, 2. Closet 1, 3. Closet 2, 4. Green House, 5. Green House 2, 6. Patio, 7. Chicken Coop 8. Bathroom, 9. Kitchen

Personal Stuff: 1. Cello, 2. Piano, 3. Time with Child, 4. Meal Planning, 5. Cleaning Routine, 6. Exercise, 7. Writing, 8. Art Projects, 9. Reading

So about 25 things on my radar right now other than my main responsibilities:

Responsibilities: 1. Care for 5-Year-Old, 2. Care for 2-Year-Old, 3. Clean Dishes, 4. Prep Meals, 5. Watch Fish, 6. Feed Dogs, 7. Let Out Chickens, 8. Put Away Chickens, 9. Feed Chickens, 10. Wash Dogs, 11. Shush Dogs, 12. Educate 5-Year-Old, 13. Prep 2-Year Old for school, 14. PCIT Training Each Day, 15. Reading with Kids, 16. Doing Laundry, 17. Pick Up from School, 18. Drop Off from School, 19. Constant Emails from School, 20. Sending Photos and taking Calls from Husband, 21. Picking Up and Dropping Off Dad and Sister from Airport.

So that’s 46 things on my mind, which is really too much for me to feel good about. For some people, it may feel productive, but for me, it feels horrible. I’m not sure how much I can handle, but that much is… past comfortable. Every little tiny change makes me irritable because I’m already overloaded.

Somehow writing it down feels good though.

I stopped watering my plants and some are really young, so that’s not good. It’s been since Monday, so today is day 4. I know I’m really overwhelmed when I stop watering my plants. I used to do it in the morning, but I can’t see that happening now with a school drop-off, we do a short language lesson, meal, getting ready, play time together for 15 minutes, and it just isn’t going to work for watering now. When I get home I feel like cleaning, but I should have watered then instead, doing it late feels weird.

The first day I left my daughter at school I felt so much separation anxiety there was no way I was going to be very productive, the second day she failed the temperature check in the check in and I educated her from home, so today the third day is the start of having time without her. I cleaned up a lot rather than play with my son, because I’m clearing out fleas so that they won’t be here anymore.

I think it’s valid, but my son so often gets swept under the rug.

Extra Issues: 47. Fixing pond leak, 48. fixing pond flow rate, 49. wondering if husband will move to my state or buy home in his state, 50. wondering how daughter will adjust to school, 51. wondering if I’m doing the right things in life, 52. wondering what my purpose is, 53. struggling to get along well with dad.

Then the pandemic has extra issues,

Pandemic Issues: 54. ethical questioning if I owe other to get vaccinated, 55. needing masks, 56. remembering masks, 57. needing to wash kids mask, 58. needing to answer questions to kids about COVID again and again, 59. needing to remind kid about mask, 60. fighting with family about COVID, 61. fighting with kids to wear mask, 62. hating COVID, 63. hating government, 64. hating hating COVID, 65. hating hating government, 66. hating COVID opinion oversharing, 67. hating the waiting feeling, 68. hating not knowing if things will ever really go back to being non-germaphobic again. 69. hating the stress of COVID with little kids together.

So 68 things on my mind. I guess it’s normal, but it feels like too many. Is there a way to be responsible without feeling the weight of being responsible?

Then philosophical issues: 69. Am I doing enough to help others, 70. am a decent person, 71. does it matter what an individual does, 72. does life go on, 73. is there more life in the galaxy, 74. will we leave Earth soon for Mars ext, 75. should I be more patient or am I right to be who I am as I am, 76. what meaning should I ascribe to my life, 77. am I living fully, 78. do I need to exercise for health or is it a waste of time when healthy, 79. should I be eating meat or not ethically, 80. should I be doing more for the environment, 81. should I be doing more for orphans, 82. should I have written a book as I committed to doing, 83. am I pushing myself too hard or not enough?

So 83 things on my mind… at each level I think, that’s all there is, then I realize there are more things.

In the past I would write “morning pages” maybe a mind like mine really needed that brain dump aspect of morning pages, which are two pages of anything on your mind.

My mind holds on to a lot, for good and bad. I don’t forget an average amount, yes a bit, but barely at all. So my life is a massive yarn ball, rather than a tapestry. Perhaps I’ll have to weave it into a story for myself, not because I want to or think it will be cool or inspiring as a story, but rather to get it off my mind so I can live freely as I imagine other people live.

I guess I’ve been holding onto too much mental clutter waiting for someday to clear it up.

“The Last Green Valley” it has a similar theme to my life, it’s the theme of trying to enjoy life and be grateful, yet it has a Christian take on it and I don’t that share that. I can’t quite put my finger on why or what the distinction is. It’s not as simple as, I’m not part of that group and they mentioned it, it’s more complicated than that. It’s more of a philosophical distinction, between the philosophy that God changes the world for people to suit their heart’s desires and my understanding that people compete or cooperate to attempt to get what they want largely independently of God. That’s why the story doesn’t resonate with me on a deep level. It’s a good enough story, yet the story of one family being successful during that dark time doesn’t to me prove that it’s because of their ability to dream, I think Ann Frank had just as much faith in God and the ability to dream. Ultimately I don’t believe in.

I thought about it for some time, it’s not that I don’t believe God does ever, or could help, I just don’t believe every little thing is destiny or God is concerned with each penny of each person’s income tax. I’m sure if God does help it’s more of a from time to time thing, that’s how I feel anyway. That puts me in a slender middle ground, there are many people who don’t believe in God or not a God who helps and many who believe God will help and should be involved in ALL things. I think it’s more like we are ground soldiers and sometimes we call in for an airstrike and we get one, and sometimes we don’t. I put off thinking about it for a long time because many people tried to push beliefs on me when I was younger and the whole topic got a bad taste in my mouth, but it feels better knowing what I think than it did as a cloudy unknown. Of course, I know there is no real evidence (that I am aware of) for any side, but even so, we have a guess deep within our hearts and whether we say so or not or know what it is or not, it does affect the way we think of the events that happened in history and in our lives. I think for a long time I didn’t want there to be a God, because I didn’t want a God that would let war and genocide and rape ext happen, yet they do happen, so either you blame God or have a God who is super mysterious so that you can’t understand why God allows those things or a God who gives humans free will and humans than do those things, without being stopped.

God is a distant concept for me, but there still is no way I can believe in a God who has a hand in everything who still has ethics I want to be a part of.

God if they do micromanage everything that happens is a force I don’t want to be personally involved with. I’m not angry at God, because I don’t really believe that God has a hand in every little thing. I think it’s us humans who make a lot of problems for ourselves and do horrible things when we act without thinking. I think there is a God, and they are involved in some ways with us, but I don’t think it’s in a way understood by any religion I’ve ever come across.

Writing this down has helped a lot. I think “The Last Green Valley” specifically brought the question of God to my mind, it wasn’t in a bad way, but they definitely drew conclusions influenced by and in alignment with Christianity more than is true for me.

I found the book uplifting, yet I found the beliefs some of the characters had to be understandable and powerful, yet not exactly true, the belief that if you hold a dream in your heart and work towards it, it will certainly come true, I don’t believe that. Yet I do believe that we can usually achieve our dreams. For example, I wanted to bring my miscarried baby back from death to life and see her grow up with her twin that survived, if I held that in my heart, it wouldn’t come true. It really wouldn’t.

So for me it’s a mix of dreams that can come true and dreams that can not and never will. Like in Full Metal Jacket, the Born to Kill, and Peace Symbol, I see duality in life, not dichotomy.

I was reading the book before bed, hoping to escape from the stress of life, but it caused me to question myself and become more present with life, so it was kind of a success and a failure. It was inspiring, but draining, when I was hoping for soothing.

Noteworthy Historical Fiction Rounding Out the Human Experience of WWII

It’s hard to comment on the book as a book because it was pretty accurate on many accounts and it was mostly an accurate life story, so it becomes really “uncomfortable” for me to say, “your life story sucks” or “your life story was great, I liked when you fought off rape and your relative’s legs got cut off…” it becomes in a sense awkward for me to comment on someone else’s life and family. Yet in a way war is better told like that, so it’s not 1 of 10,000 soldiers and 1 out of 8,000 civilians dead, but rather, my uncle who liked to laugh and fish, gone. Since they are real people on a massive scale, I’ve always liked real stories better, yet there is an awkwardness to being able to talk about them, there is a dignity it feels like the dead should carry that makes it awkward to consider them in the same way fictional characters can be analyzed and diced up into simple boxes. I think I understood why Mark Sullivan took so much time to be so accurate, I think even as an author, that he didn’t want to write this story, but just tell it, for the world to consider the true cost of war, the true value of life, the effect of government oppression, and the value of hope and goals and the cost of holding hate, particularly hate of God on a long term basis.


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 maybe 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.