๐Ÿซ The Straw that Provided the Camel a Snack ๐Ÿ’

I haven’t been writing as much as normal, but I’ve been thinking a lot.

About why I haven’t been writing as much, I want to, I think I can, but lately I haven’t. My husband suggested laziness, I don’t think so, because I wasn’t watching shows or relaxing (none of which are wrong) I was kind of mentally pacing back and forth rather than chillaxing as I would if I were in need of rest or lazy. But I was thinking there isn’t so much that separates the me a few months ago who was writing a lot and the me now. It was some subtle difference, it wasn’t about having less time, less energy, or not wanting to, there is not much pressure, because there isn’t a deadline (though I would like to be done by new years eve next year). I’ve been trying to find the difference between non-writing me and writing me and it’s still outside of my comprehension, but the best I can say is that it’s a subtle, yet important difference like a tortoiseshell vs a calico cat.

We are not the same! Meow.

Differences Between Tortoiseshell and Calico Cats - PetHelpful - By fellow  animal lovers and experts
Tita Geertman’s Article on Tortoiseshell vs Calico Cat Color Pattern

Imagine that your child has a new cat that gets hit by a car, you can’t replace a tortoiseshell with a calico without just being transparent that it is not the same cat. It’s so similar in so many ways, but the very small difference is undeniable and unchangeable. So, I stopped judging myself hatefully for not doing what I said I want to, which I really think I do want to, and instead started more curiously, less judgmentally looking at what was going on internally and externally when I was and wasn’t writing well. I didn’t crack the code, but one thing I was thinking was if I allowed myself to be myself, to be quirky, if I had a cafe to write, if I had some simple things, it might be easier, yes I would want to be able to overcome anything and everything, but if I let myself have a few simple things that make writing easier for me, that wouldn’t be so bad. I don’t know exactly what those things are yet, but I’m more open to shifting the logistics around now to find something that works.

What I noticed about myself is I can write articles or non-fiction while I have creative writing writer’s block, at the same time… like having a functional calico cat, but a broken, turbulent tortiseshell cat who just won’t have it… not eating the dry food nor the wet food until things get better.

But I’ve made it through the bottom and I’ll back again, walking towards the top.

This post is basically a big thank to Dwight Hyde for the recent encouragement by the way. This video helped me, so I’ll share it, in case it helps others, or me again (secretly planning to re-read the same encouragement next time if I get stuck again, at least see if works).

You have to be the hero of your own story and you can do that.

– Joe Rogan who is also Preying Mantis from Kung Fu Panda ๐Ÿฆ—

Today I was able to write 1052 words, for me a good work day, of the scifi story I call “Yokohama Rx,” which is the ships name. Maybe a better title will arise, and I’ll swap it, but it has struck me as a fitting way to identify which story I am referring to in my own mind.

For what itโ€™s worth I believe shining a light on all this is a good thing no matter how hard it is to swallow. I lived years in denial living stagnant on a lily pad in a swamp until it basically got blown up for a lack of a better word. Broken to pieces never to be put back together. I wish it would of happened sooner. Sending peace and keep your courage to question, view, and ACT!

– Dwight Hyde

I don’t know if it’s superstition or reality, but I actually felt like I received peace and courage.

In Mud Sweat and Tears, Bear Grylls talks about special forces training, when someone gave him a tiny bit of their water, when he had none, that it revitalized him well beyond the hydration that someone cared enough to give it, when it wasn’t required.

It might sound dramatic, but I’ve had a boy, who is now 1 and a half, and since then it goes through my mind “what does it mean to be a good man?”

I’ve never thought much about it. I don’t know if there is less pressure to be a good woman, I’ve never actually thought about what that actually means, I think most people mean that you don’t cheat and perhaps work hard, but I still have never thought about what it means to me, or if I qualify based on my own metric… but since having a boy the question of how to raise him to be a good man has lingered in the back of my mind.

I think it’s all about small kindnesses, I think the difference between a good man and a typical man is very slim, like the difference between an Olympian and a great athlete is sometimes milliseconds apart.

I think a typical man does what they need to do and stops, nothing wrong there. But to me, a good man, sometimes, not every time, goes that one step further towards sharing someone else’s burden. It could be a friend, family, a stranger, a dog, a whole town, only one stray cat, but somewhere in the ability to find the time to do something very small, or very big, something that didn’t “need” to be done, something no one would have required or expected, the act of acknowledging another individual, perhaps helping, perhaps not, but acknowledging others as worth the time to really look at them, if but for a second, or really listen to them, as a person. In Japanese it’s called “makoto” translated as sincerity, but in English sincerity has become watered down a bit to mean honesty, when it used to mean much more.

There is so little kindness in the cities, in modern life, that most of I can remember comes from over 30 years ago, in another state, I wonder if everyone thinks the world of childhood was kinder, because we are kinder to children? Or was it just kinder? I remember walking down dirt roads and I couldn’t get to the bakery a block away without someone giving peanuts or jelly to me to carry back to my grandmother. I could go anywhere without a kind face or a kind word, they didn’t let me. I wasn’t that outgoing, the world wasn’t returning my friendliness, but just giving me theirs no strings attached.

Now every bill I get says something crazy about how I’m part of their family ext, and they care deeply about my user experience ext, but if I switch phone or cable and they ask me why after wasting about 20 minutes of my time they wouldn’t offer me a lower rate, so suddenly we aren’t family and they don’t care deeply anymore.

I guess no one but me gets bothered by those advertising claims, but it kind of jaded me over time, I kind of forgot that my world was once as friendly as the cold one I live in pretends to be.

It’s easier to forget the world I grew up in than to remember and make sense of it being the same one that I live in now. It changed so much it was exciting, it changed so much it was fun, then it changed so much it was confusing, then it changed so much it was daunting.

“The only constant in life is change.”

– Heraclitus

I guess some people have always noticed that change can’t be rinsed off life, that life is woven of fibers of change, but I was so fooled by the smell of my grandmothers cooking and the way the towels smelled and the way they were always folded the same way, always there in the closet magically, I was so fooled by the way my dad always looked the same, with a baseball cap, average looking to me, but youthful and unchanging like an elf, I was so fooled when my grandmother hugged me that I would be loved forever, by her, that she would always be there, so that whatever success I had, someday she would see them (but never judge me by them, because she wasn’t like that, she just loved you already as you were).

I was a fool to think life would always be easy, always safe, always wonderful.

I was a fool and I was fooled, but it gave a few years of happiness that I don’t think I would have preferred to trade to know the future.

If my life were a necklace it would alternate between wonderful, horrible, and mundane. I don’t know if everyone’s life feels as even as mine, but mine feels like there is a one to one ratio of tragedy and triumph, with a lot of mundane spacing in between like babies breath in a bouquet.

I remember a funeral, when I was young, my mother said babies breath had been the ladies favorite flower. I think it was my grandfather’s mother. I call her that, because that’s all she ever was to me, not my great grandmother (because we never knew each other) but rather the mother of my grandfather.

It rocked me to the core a little bit, the simple idea of a woman loving the background flower, that flower that came free with the purchase of a flashier flower, how could anyone love the background more than the star?

I understand now, that the star is nothing without the background. The star is the most replaceable, not the least. The rose for valentines day gets swapped for a sunflower most readily upon another season and the babies breath seems to always find a place.

But it’s also that we are all very different people. I’ve never liked roses. I’m sure some people do. My husband brought me roses on our second date (or so) and I like him, but not the roses (which I was allergic to). Beyond the allergy, I just have never thought roses were more beautiful than other flowers, I didn’t know why they were more popular to poetry or literature.

We as people, we find the variation of dogs and cats and even lizards personalities so fascinating, because it mirrors us, we are so different in some ways, such as taste, ability, preference, even as the core remains the same. I think most of us like flowers, but the flowers vary quite a bit person to person.

They say green is the color of harmony because flowers of any color can look good together with a mostly green background.

Georgia O’Keeffe I read would get mad that she thought people never really looked at flowers, she painted them larger to get people’s attention, to force them to look. I think it was wonderful that she found her own mission, her own metric, her own success, that she wasn’t ashamed to be herself.

I’m still finding my way, little has changed but today I wrote 1052 words, essentially I started walking down the road towards the mountain I was headed to, I think it was due to the kindness of strangers. A kind word was the straw that provided the camel a snack to get back going to wherever camels will go.

๐Ÿ’

๐Ÿ’ป Nothing to Troubleshoot Except Troubleshooting Itself ๐Ÿ˜

PEBKAC | Know Your Meme
Problem Exists Between Keyboard and Chair – Vex Harbringer

This election is being annoyingly loud thanks to my husband, I was thinking it was ironic Clinton stole money from the Haitian people by setting up a charity fund and keeping the money herself, then having the election stolen ie she gained the popular vote, but still lost the electoral college vote as did Gore. She stole and life stole from her. Donald Trump works hard, but disrespects people up and down the street, then he wonders why the world is constantly disrespectful to him. Joe Biden seems to have stolen a lot of money via business contracts using his families as shells, then he seems to have had his memories stolen of them and everything. It seems like there is a certain justice in the world, but it takes about 10 years to go into effect.

All that is conjecture, but it’s not worth looking it up to me, because what I find won’t be much more fact based than my own conjecture based on 1 musing while washing dishes.

I don’t believe in eye for eye karma, that leaves the universe blind.

But I do believe in live by the sword die by the sword. If you are always in battle killing, odds are much higher you may be the victim of killing as well.

PEBKAC means the problem exists between keyboard and chair, which means, the problem is you/me = “the user”.

My tech friends used to use it to discuss what was wrong when working in pairs of two, so they didn’t offend the person that was the problem.

But when you are the problem, your problem, the obstacle of your own goals, it quickly (or slowly) becomes the elephant in the room.

People will attempt to hold you back, they will slow you down with their priorities that don’t match yours, they will try to give you their chores to do, but ultimately it’s unlikely that anyone will hold you down or hold you back to the extent that you hold you down or hold you back.

The baby elephant is kept with a simple rope tied to a tree, it doesn’t break free, as an adult it’s kept with the same simple rope, it has learned not to struggle against the rope.

Haven’t I too?

When I talk to my husband about my goals he calls it whining, but when he talks about work gossip, somehow he thinks I should listen. I won’t. I don’t want to listen respectfully to someone who never listens to anyone else, both my daughter and my husband are like that, it gets very old. I know many people would tell me to be the change, to give them the feeling of being listened to, to wait and act correctly and they will follow, only they don’t. If you offer a free lunch some people will donate and others just take and leave, day after day. If you charge a quarter or a dollar it stops most of those people, those people won’t spend anything to heckle others, to malinger, those people prefer a completely free ride on the way to the riots, they won’t contribute gas money to get there. I’m so bitter after years of him going on and on but refusing to listen, but I see that it’s a PEBKAC issue.

In the book “Beyond Boundaries” John Townsend discusses two different kinds of boundaries, protective ones for when people keep stomping on your flower beds and core boundaries for life. Perhaps a perimeter electric fence for cattle and a white picket fence to define the inner garden of the home. I’ve had poor boundaries of both kinds all my life, but also a lack of distinguishing the different kinds of boundaries.

When you love someone the tendency is to give them free access to your heart and soul, but some people become mischievous with no limits, who would perhaps be fine with a security camera.

As a boy my husband liked to steal juice at the store, he liked to pull out the teacher’s chair or put a pin on it, I never wanted to think he would treat me that way, I wanted to think someone that misbehaved with other people would treat me well out of love, it hasn’t been that way, but it’s taken me so long to see it. And even longer to notice who is to blame, me.

I was told if you have a problem with someone you talk to them, you ask them to stop, that’s about the only thing I’ve tired with my husband and it’s had the same high failure rate with him that it’s had with almost all the people I’ve used it with.

In general the people who will stop if you ask them are not the ones who would be thoughtless enough to ignore that they are creating a problem for you.

Has anyone asked Al-Quaeda to stop? I think so, I don’t think they did. I know Hitler was asked to stop, but so was Winston Churchill.

So my main solution to problems I was armed with 1. Asking nicely for people to stop, hasn’t worked very much at all, I’m guessing 10% of the time, it’s probably time to figure out something else.

Perhaps when I’m trying to write I should demand my husband talk to me, perhaps that would be the best way for him to not want to talk to me…

Yesterday I tried to explain to him what writing meant to me and how I wanted to be more serious about really finishing a book, and already today he was interrupting me in every way he was before the talk, which he agreed with. He agrees with me 100%, but takes 0% of the actions that would help us work as a team.

I don’t hate my husband, I’m not looking to get rid of him, but rather, I’m trying to find a way to make progress towards my goals and he always seems to be in the way of new habits.

Perhaps he hates change, I don’t know, but I do know he encourages me to do something like “work out” or “see my friends” but then complains or blocks the real logistics of it coming to fruition. I didn’t see it for so long, but now that I do I don’t think I’ll be able to not see it.

Sometimes we have bad habits, like being rude, I’ll own that, I am rude to my loved ones, I regret it, I work on it, I’m not perfect.

But I’m so serious about finding out how I can leave this state of not following my goals, I’m looking at what I’ve been doing, which hasn’t been working, and what the people who are working are doing that has been working, I’m combing over life with a finer comb and it’s come up with some metaphorical lice.

The biggest one is me, allowing myself to get distracted, allowing myself to stay stuck, but another is that I have to fight my spouse to work on the habits I am trying to create rather than being helped. I weight about 110 lbs, he weights 170 lbs, I can carry him a short distance, but he should either be carrying me or walking beside me, I shouldn’t be forced to over come more difficulty consistently by the relationship I co-created with him.

In the past I start writing a lot, then there is some huge fire to put out in the family, in the marriage, he should be putting fires out when he is home, he should stop causing them, but he doesn’t, he says he will, then does nothing differently, what is his game?

I want to table all those problems indefinitely, because whenever I’ve tried to do anything about them it’s been a wasted effort, but perhaps that’s a rope that I can break now?

In the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Stephen Covey makes the point that personal matters, relationships, should be the main focus of life, not the side focus, because they can so easily destroy or detract whatever other work you are doing, you may as well turn directly towards those focuses.

I really don’t want to do that.

To a large degree I want to remain a lone wolf, even though I’m in the middle of a pack, I’m married, I’m raising a family, but I hate it.

I hate not being able to decide where we go, I hate the slow pace of life, I know someday things will be different, but I hate so much of the lifestyle right now. I hate having a squirming baby on top of me, I hate my son stopping and starting breast feeding, I wish he would start and finish and be done, I hate 94% of this life style, I hate pee leaking on my dress right after I showered, I hate stepping in my husband’s pee puddle in the morning and in the evening and hearing him tell me the bathroom needs to be cleaned, I hate the way he does things so much differently than me and won’t meet me half way or on my side, I’ve hated much more than I liked and if I’ve said so, whatever I’ve said was the tip of the hate-burg.

I was a person that probably should have staid single, someone who likes when their things haven’t moved, when dirty socks aren’t on top of the table and in random places… someone who enjoyed sleeping alone, enjoyed hiking alone and enjoyed dinning alone.

Now I’m married, I do my best at it, but I don’t think it’s a superior life style by any means. Perhaps it’s better for the children, but I don’t enjoy it and I don’t know if my husband does. He says he does, but his honesty is not without question.

This post is pretty dark and bitter, but perhaps sifting through the darkness and bitterness is part of the process of seeing what went wrong, the mechanism for failure in my life and a clue to the road out of the pit of writer’s block I’m having? I don’t know.

I do feel better, I could probably delete what I have written and still feel better, but for some reason I don’t think there is anything dangerous about the truth.

Life is hard and marriage is harder.

It’s like a diamond sofa, diamonds maybe nice, but you want to be comfortable on the sofa after the rest of life was tiring, and instead you get the most difficult challenge in life that not only won’t go away but will light all your knitted sweaters on fire until you address that baseball game that you were supposed to go to together 10 years ago.

We definitely waste my energy being not a good enough team, so maybe I should try to create a better team rather than just trying to retreat to make progress on the things I enjoy?

I really don’t want to try, I remember counseling, begging to go, because I did care, and having so much damn resistance, he always makes me set it up and then won’t go, I fucking hate that, how about don’t make me do any work and don’t go, yuck.

I remember a few months ago being neutral towards my marriage, and somewhere along the lines I slipped into bitter and than flamboyantly bitter. I don’t even know when it happened, I think it was a shade further each day, but I don’t really know.

There is so much sadness, so much lack of hope it will get better, so much disappointment that marriage requires so much effort and gives so little encouragement, good conversation or good company, and I know I’m part or all of most of those problems, but somehow that doesn’t make it much better. I don’t know how to be the part of solutions, because I don’t know if solutions exist, I’ve seen so few good marriages, I don’t know if they are mythological or possible, and if they are I don’t know if they are possible in my life time and for me. Some people climb Everest, but most don’t, it seems like a encouraging marriage is a harder peak than Everest. If I divorce maybe I’ll climb Everest then, to find out what was harder between the marriage or the mountain for real.

Maybe Everest is much harder, but I’m lying at the base of this marriage, exhausted from constant failure to ascend and the other one I have no prior failures to discourage me mentally, I have never failed to break that rope.

I feel my hopelessness floating upwards and outwards from my stomach, it feels like a balloon filled with air instead of helium, something that looks from the outside much as it should, but is hollow on the inside and fails to perform what function it was made to do.

Like a balloon that sits in a chair looking fine, something in my soul hovers on the floor instead of getting up and rising to the occasion.

I may not be broken, but there is a blown fuse somewhere, a short circuit that should be resolved before a new fuse is added…

It’s more difficult to troubleshoot a tech error when a problem exists between the keyboard and the chair and it’s more significantly more difficult to troubleshoot a problem when the problem is your troubleshooting ability itself.

One day my computer got broken, the power chord became disconnected from the monitor so the monitor was only darkness, Tech Guru’s YouTube video showed me how to fix that in a few minutes, I was tentative, but I tried and I did fix this computer I’m writing on right now. I fixed the computer preventing me from writing in less than an hour, how long will it take me to fix the emotional problem preventing me from writing the book I want to finish by end of next year?

I’m not doing what I want me to do. How to fix the PEBKAC error?

๐Ÿฉ Le Chatelier’s Principle โ‡Œ

Essentially life is something that is imperfect, reactants form products, but it’s never 100% complete, because as the products form some move backwards towards the initial state, an equilibrium may lie far towards either the reactant side or product side, but it’s never complete, life is messier than that.

Ying Yang Symbol Free Stock Photo - Public Domain Pictures

Day 2, trying to write at night, it’s 10:33 PM, I was kind of ready on time, I was looking for writing jobs… I thought if I wanted to write articles it would be easy to do, but it’s not as easy as I had supposed from the other side of the fence. I’m sure that there are good projects out there, but so far I’ve found more scams than reasonable projects. Perhaps from the work at home flood, or perhaps it was always that way “in real life”.

Interestingly I don’t want money so much as I want accountability, I was interested in having a writing coach, therefore paying the writing coach, so earning something from writing would seem worthwhile and found money has no bills attached.

It took a long time to set up an upwork account, everything didn’t work it seemed, the ID upload, the profile picture, seemingly everything, yet in the end it did and I applied to three projects (which I noticed were already full of enough applicants by the time I did, not a day later then the projects were posted).

Freelance sounds really cool, but actually, I guess it kind of means scrounging for jobs. I’m a freelance writer now I guess. I’ve said that for awhile, but I haven’t looked for jobs until today.

So was that or wasn’t that avoiding writing?

Today I had a free sample with a writing coach, which I don’t know about fitting into life right now.

Before the meeting I was thinking that I do always seem to have success at meeting goals for life, just that it comes slowly. This year I did a few good things, learned to cook, taught multiplication, adjusted to teaching for dyslexia, over coming shyness a bit, pushing myself out of my comfort zone.

One thing that slows me down is a lack of prioritize what project matters when I have no way to know which one will pay off and what will lead to something that I find rewarding, I basically will never know before hand and if I wait to know to start I will never start.

I like to do too many things…. or many not too many, but I have trouble picking and sticking to one project all the way.

Things I like to do:
1. Educational Diagrams
2. Metrics for Emotions
3. Educational Graphic Design
4. Digital Illustration
5. Writing Books
6. Reading Books
7. Comic Books
8. Research
9. Teaching Art
10. Teaching Martial Arts
11. Teaching Outdoor School – Charlotte Mason Inspired
12. Reading Advocacy
13. Math Advocacy
14. Science Advocacy
15. Game Design
16. 3D Sculpting/CAD
17. Banana Exercise Classes
18. Stoic Philosophy Everyday Life Applications
19. Blogging
20. Self Help Class Design

So, it’s not for lack of skills, passion, or interest, but lack of determination and focus to commit to one project and finish it.

I’ve been gravitating to writing a book as a project to get out of my comfort zone, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, yet there are fears of it shattering dreams I’ve had since childhood.

I really fell in love, married, and a few years later, it’s not all picnics, it’s almost completely not picnics. I don’t know if I’m ready to let writing a book become real and stop being a fantasy.

I don’t “really” know what I want to do, I don’t “really” know what project is the best use of time or resources, but to live is to not know and do something isn’t it?

I really enjoyed the session with the writing coach, she had climbed Everest, but still struggled to actually start writing a book afterwards for two years. It’s so common a thing, so human a thing, but I look down on myself instead of looking for a way out of the writer’s block crevasse.

My son is throwing the biggest fit tonight, as if he knows I’m trying to peruse my life goals, there are certain activities that kids have a radar for and don’t tolerate without a fit. I don’t know why using the bathroom is not acceptable, leaving to get them a candy from the other room gets a pass? How do they know at age 1 and why do they hate when you seek independence, how do they even know? Maybe I can tell what I was meant to do in life by how much my kids resent me trying to do it? If they let me with no fight, that’s not it… just kidding.

My husband is helping my son tonight, he seems okay, he was awake anyways so, that’s nice that this second day, though difficult didn’t end in me giving up.

I’m supposed to know what I want to do, so I said I want to write my book and the two after it that I see in my mind as one unit.

Hopefully by 12-31-2021 I am done with the first book, I want to get started today and tomorrow.

I’m writing an article, but I hope that making the space for writing, defending my decision to right, strengthening my resolve, I hope that it creates the castle in my mind where I can sit down and write “the novel”.

I was trying to find the difference between the writers who do write and the ones who don’t. I’m attending two writer’s groups now and I notice nobody are flakes or untalented in either group, but the ones who are writing are driven and focused.

I’m trying to be focused and determined starting now.

To be focused I know one particular problem I have is wanting to jump from project to project.

FOCUS
Writing the trilogy’s first book due end of next year.
Writing freelance articles at least trying.

The writing coach told me to “do” not “try,” but I’m such an honest person, I don’t want to confuse the difference. What I’m doing for now is trying, because trying is the most I can possibly commit to right now.

Possibly I have to light the fuse and run rather than waiting for the fuse to light itself, but also I’m not going to throw a grenade until I have a target and I’m not sure if I do.

I was in bed with my baby who usually doesn’t throw a fit from 10-11 PM, but tonight did, my husband asked me to take the baby, but at least he helped for a long while, I took my baby, fed him, he fell asleep and I got out of bed to finish this article.

It may be insignificant to everyone else, it may be optional, it may be non-paying, but it mattered to me.

I have this superstition growing that if I write, my writing will find all the readers it needs to, whether that is 0 or 1 or 1 million, kind of like a “Field of Dreams” if you build it they will come kind of superstition.

Today I resumed outdoor school after being inside while we were all sick, I served the three meals that feels like three thousand, I did the laundry, the dishes, I did enough, I gave my daughter a kiss, looked at her for who she is, helped her with math, I did at least 200 things that I “should do,” but I think this article at 11:31 PM is the first thing I’ve done that “I want to do” that feels like it matters to me.

I know the kids are supposed to matter to me, but I want something that belongs to just me, without them, I guess I want some self, some individuality, I want to be an adult that can speak as an adult.

I had almost forgotten what the adult world was like and I don’t mean in a “adult movie” way, just a normal adult way. Being able to say things like DMV instead of “the place where all the driver’s licences are given, where you will go to be able to drive safely and get the privilege of sharing the road that your taxes pay for, taxes are added to items we buy and also taken from our income at the federal level, if you care about tax rates you can vote, but your vote doesn’t decide what will happen, it’s a community effort… that’s right the popular vote doesn’t always decide the president, it typically coincides with the electoral college, the electoral college was decided a long time ago when those in power didn’t trust the average person, who was not very well educated at all, sure there is corruption and confusion in the system, but that does happen in most large countries, well we live here because our ancestors were moderately destitute, so they came as workers here and now I need to go to the DMV”.

Going to the library branch writer’s meet up reminded me of that adult world.

I don’t know how many ABC videos it took before I forgot who I was, how many Baby Signing Time songs, but I so miss the normal life.

I miss being sick and laying around the house in bed, without helping anyone else get water or deal with anxiety or talk about their feelings or feed others.

My 4-year-old wants to be a baby again, and I want to be a single adult again, not to date, just for the purposes of not having to help anyone at all on an average day.

I look back on the days I used to call off from work for a food poisoning or stomach flu and they now seem like a high water mark, because I got to lay down and not get up to do all the things I usually do, I got to curl up with a book or a movie and take a nap, I got to order take out and not split it three ways and serve it and clean it and answer questions throughout the meal about the inevitability of death as well as how if my daughter can escape to another planet she can then marry her brother, which she knows we don’t want her to do… ha.

There used to be silence. I used to eat my snacks by myself. Those were the days.

But I guess no one loved me. That was harrowing.

One one side there was abundant rest and barely any love, the other side abundant love and barely any rest.

I suppose if there is a heaven it’s the only place that has both rest and love.

I followed my dreams by writing this, yes my dreams have become quite “humble” lately, but I want to start tasting victory more often to get a sense for the flavor.

If I write every night it won’t be so hard to start writing about the book characters, or research, or scenes, and if I write the book time after time, one day it will be done, and I think someday I’ll know if it was the right thing or not, but someday way after I did the work of it and I will have to do the work knowing full well that I don’t know how successful, lucrative, rewarding, helpful or significant it will be to me or anyone else.

You don’t have to see the whole staircase, justย takeย the firstย step.โ€

– Martin Luther Kind Jr.

Tonight I’m taking the second step, on an invisible staircase, to a place I can’t see, in a building I’m unfamiliar, with in a country I can’t name, but somehow it feels right. Thank you for helping me take that step, thank you for the welcome, or begrudging acceptance, into the world of the night writers it’s unexpectedly nice to be here with you, across time, writing under the waning crescent moon.

๐ŸŒ˜

๐Ÿ›‹๏ธ Night Shift ๐ŸŒ™

I really do like the mornings, I like coffee and quiet, the approaching dawn.

I like the mornings, but so do my kids, they wake up before 7 AM and my son cries if I’m not near him from 6 to 7…

It won’t be forever, but it is right now.

So perhaps I can write at night?

Though I want the Immanual Kant schedule, maybe I can do the Jerry Jenkin’s schedule?

I did a web class with Jerry Jenkins, he said if you are busy caring for kids or family, it might not be the right time to write.

I love and hate that.

I love that it’s okay to put my family first and not be able to do everything, but I hate anyone suggesting that I don’t try to do whatever it is I’m trying to do.

I went to a really cool writer’s meet up, with four other writers who were so cool and welcoming. They were very productive as well, I want to get there, to where they are, it’s scary, but I want to try. Some have been working on novels for 20 years, which have deep and quirky characters and interesting, fast paced plots, and so much wit.

I kind of feel out of my depth with them, they are where I want to be in writing, their books are on par with normal books, good interesting books.

I feel a bit like a home cook trying to mingle with chefs, but I’ve often been the dumbest one in my study group… in college I made it a point to try to make the best student my study partner, they rarely resented it, even though I rarely helped solve half the harder work, it seems like the company and motivation to get the homework done was enough to equal out the help they gave me, even if I they did take some extra time to break down the basic calculations for me in physics.

One of those smartest student is still one of my few good friends, it started with me being bad at physics, especially derivatives for vectors, and it just never stopped. I owe a few good friends to my own stupidity I guess I could say.

So, it’s night.

Lately I haven’t slept as well, I’ve been sleeping late with a cough that I think is mostly gone.

This is perhaps a great time to start a night writing habit.

It’s going well tonight, I’ll write in the quiet of darkness, with the crickets singing (the males at least), I’ll write with my family sleeping in the next room over, so the click clack of the keyboard doesn’t bother them.

I’ll write “morning pages” at night, or homework for my first writer’s group, or perhaps the novel for my second. I will write something in the time from when the kids sleep, until I sleep. If I sleep that’s fine, but if I stay awake, I will write and not check email ext (I do that in the morning typically). If I am awake I will Stephen King it and work through the insomnia.

The kids and I got sick, I rested, and the rest became a reset, but as I reset I wondered, what should I go back to doing?

Some of what I was doing was very worth it, moving school outside, learning to cook, perhaps everything, yet I just don’t have more energy. So that, if I really want to work on a novel, and I think I do want to, than it requires that I have to save energy from somewhere.

I think I know from where.

It’s just hard, it’s hard to let go, it’s hard to accept I have more time than energy, but that’s how it is. I have a few more hours of the day than I do mental energy with which to use it “productively”.

I’ve driven myself pretty hard this year, filling in for my husband, working out a better life, a better school system, better family rules, a better team structure for the family, yet it’s taken a toll.

The Higgs Bosom particles, little particles smaller than an atom found in CERNs super collider, they can borrow from the future. If they need to go faster to break out of an area, they can go faster than they were going and then pay back the energy later, they take a pay day loan of energy from themselves.

So much of quantum mechanics has always matched how it feels like life works.

It’s kind of intuitive, not if you think of particles as objects, but if you think of them as beings or individuals. Aren’t we drained by Wednesday, but borrow from the weekend so that Saturday and Sunday we don’t have any vigor left? Doesn’t the work on Monday steal energy from Sunday just because we know it’s coming up?

I want to write hard scifi, I’m already started on a novel about a ship captain who doesn’t like her job and wants to quit, she does quit in the second book, but I haven’t spend nearly any time at all on the book lately.

At first I had to decided if writing scifi was what I wanted to do. And I feel like it is, for better or worse I have diverse interest and like many types of books and even types of creativity (art and writing).

But I think I was lost in scifi the best as a girl, The Princess of Mars, from a large box of scifi books someone was giving away, really captured my imagination. It had an outsider protagonist, which I’ve always been, and a strong warrior female who was also smart, which I would argue that I’ve always been as well, so it would have been almost impossible for me not to fall in love with that book.

I’ve loved The Forever War, I think that’s a good first Scifi book for anyone who has never read it, the beauty of Scifi, I think, is in being exotic and mundane at the same time. The relatebility of human nature combined with the limitless possibilities of what could have been or could be.

Clone, was a really good one, I’ll never forget that one, I stood in the library aisles, smelling the book smell, and sad that I would never read all the books (a realization that was new to me, having come from a smaller town with a smaller library, where I did read all the books in my sections) I was still hopeful to grab another good book and enter a new world.

My real life wasn’t so great I didn’t want to escape… and escape I did, there is a time for mindfulness, but also a time for a free and unpained soul.

I recently rewatched “the Never Ending Story” and “Never Ending Story 2,” beloved from my childhood, with my daughter. We both want the luck dragon Falcor, she liked the horse Artax more than me, but I noticed this time how much I didn’t understand as a child.

In the second movie they explain that books change when you read them again, for me they seldom did, because I read them back to back (for lack of new books). I hadn’t changed, so therefore my understanding and my views hadn’t changed, but finally enough time had passed that I saw “the Never Ending Story as an adult.”

It’s a beautiful story, that we are all a part of the story of mankind, that a world of our hopes and dreams and imaginations lives somewhere “a literary world”.

Since the internet has gone from a university side project, to an essential of survival, I wondered along with other writers if books would die, but I don’t think they will. They may change to digital only, they may shorten, but I don’t think they will die.

I think a new wonderful time for books is dawning when the unspoken voices are given freedom to speak, I don’t see this as the end, but the beginning of a freer era of books. It may not be everyone who reads books, but those who want to will, those living now and also those in every part of the future of humanity, I believe it will be much easier to keep books in digital form and that one generation of librarian will pass the torch to the next. Some books will be lost, but most of the great one’s won’t. Most stories and ideas worth telling are told many times, but each voice does so in a different tone, with a different tambor, a different beauty, a different flavor.

To me it is worth it to write a book, to push myself from what I have always been, a reader, to something new, an author.

Even if I go back to the way I was before, I believe there is a lot to learn about myself in the process.

I’ve always had the problem with math that I struggle a lot where I am told to struggle, in the class I am in, but when I get to the next class I can easily understand the one before it, so I wonder why couldn’t I just easily understand during the class?

Perhaps the ideas were too new? Perhaps I didn’t believe in myself? Perhaps my tools were too weak?

My mind was never weak, I was never horrible, but I just don’t know what I don’t know.

And I think I’ll never know what I don’t know.

So as I try to write at night, try to write a novel, I think I will learn a lot about myself, but I know that I don’t know if I will or if I do if it will be worth it and if it is or isn’t worth it what I’ll find out.

It becomes an exploration of my soul, my capacity for words and the courage to face the fear of being the worst writer of my group or of all time.

sleep glasses
10:59 PM

Thank you for joining me, I wanted to conclude the transformation series, but I found that I wanted to justify myself to myself in what I am doing writing at night or writing a novel at all, so perhaps tomorrow night I will end the transformation series I had been writing as I feel as one chapter of life has ended and a new one has begun.

๐Ÿฆ‰

๐Ÿช Cookies and Pain ๐Ÿ—ก๏ธ

Recently I’ve hit a strange plateau, I keep writing but not publishing.

I went to a writer’s meeting with one poem and three really interesting books being written, some had been in progress for 20 years, but they were all really interesting and decently cohesive at this point. It was kind of crushing to see how other people operate, they just seemed to be able to write so well.

I was guessing I would move from scatter brained to cohesive someday, but I never really understood exactly how it would happen.

The poem was awesome though, three wonderful and long novels which were all my time of books so it was interesting to go “back stage” and see them being written, but also the poem really lifted my spirits, it was about being the captain of your own soul, my 1st rule of our family is “be the captain,” I hope to be able to link to that poem someday, but as far as I know it’s unpublished, it was “an epiphany” to the writer on the day of the writers meeting, it was similar to the one I had that drives me to write here and strive in the average day to do just a little bit extra in life towards lifting someone’s spirits (my own or others) or taking a small moment to appreciate the beauty of the little things in life.

I left the meeting wanting to write my novel as well as articles, I kept thinking how is it possible to not have writer’s block for the one, but not the other, and I ended up having to have writer’s block for both I guess.

In the past I’ve read a lot of witty things about writer’s block, that you simply can just sit down and work to cure it… but having read all those things, and having had a solid year without writer’s block, it still returned to me so strongly this past week.

I now have 28 drafts on WordPress, at first it was 1 – a draft about romance, how to fix it, I started writing it thinking I would fix my marriage and explain how… step 1 never happened, thus all I have to explain is how to not fix a marriage, most of the other 27 were written this past week or two.

When I have writer’s block I seem to explode with ideas, and even to write, but I usually throw away the “balled up papers of writing,” this time I didn’t, but nor did I publish them.

Someday I think I’ll read those articles and decide to finish or delete them, my husband thinks they will be the best ones for whatever reason. I’m not sure.

I didn’t notice them being better, or worse as I wrote them, I was a bit more inspired to write, as honest as always, as clear as always, but what made me not publish them had a lot more to do about me than the articles. I didn’t feel secure in myself at all, so even my articles, which tend to be somewhere from fine to great (depending on taste), even pressing the “Publish Button” was out of reach.

As of yet not one person has ever criticized me on my blog, other than perhaps me, the one critic who may complain to me if I do hit the “Publish Button” is probably myself.

I’ve written and thrown out entire novels, without ever showing them to anyone, it’s an interesting dilemma to be in, some writers decide not to sit down and write, I so enjoy writing that I do sit down and write, but then due to a lack of confidence to let my writing exist, to allow myself to hope I am enough for it to be enough, to prevent using courage and hope I don’t possess (on credit) I destroy or don’t publish what I have.

I have never gone through such a short writer’s block, I find it encouraging that my cycles are getting faster.

When I was first married, my husband and I would fight over a two week period, perhaps being mean for 4 days, being sulky for a week, him apologizing for 1 day, me thinking about it for 1 day, then me apologizing the last day. Five years later it happens in an hour or two, 20 minutes of fighting, us realizing it’s not worth it to fight, double the fight time in sulking, we now both apologize one after the other and hug it out. Problems very rarely get fixed in either case but the old way took a lot more away from life, headaches during work the days we were fighting, stress, hating someone for a few days only to decide to go on living with them a few days later. He doesn’t like to do things my way, I don’t like to do things his way, we lack an “our way” and yet we want to stay together, we have achieved a peaceful, albeit it somewhat mediocre status quo over time.

When I have been writing, I think I’m a lot easier to live with, I feel better about myself, though my writing hasn’t done anything important to my husband’s metric (ie make money, be famous), it has done so many important things to my metric (sometimes help others, often help me, produce clarity in a murky world, produce emotional healing to some of the scars I carry in my heart, give me something adult to do in a life of child care, keep my mind as sharp “as ever”, give me fun, give me something to look forward to, help me balance my life, help me brainstorm new ideas, help me get to know myself, help me find my voice and values as an individual, even help me make peace with God or the idea of God).

I should acknowledge that my husband supports me in a way as a writer, he encourages me to write, he says my writing is good and funny, I just wish that that was enough for him. He is always hoping that if I keep going there will be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but I want to chase the rainbow for the rainbow itself.

I don’t want to be a cash cow, I just want to be a cow.

I’m not lazy, I’m not too idealistic to know we need some money to eat, but I’ve suffered so much at my own hands by over-prioritizing money over a life span.

I learned how much it didn’t matter, not because I’m smart or enlightened, but in a rare moment of pain and insight.

I had an epiphany Friday November 17th 2017:

I had been working “too much” since I turned 18 and even before. At 13 I worked at a doughnut shop, otherwise I don’t know what I would have done with myself as I was homeless at times when my bipolar mother got beaten by her significant other she would try to hit me and because I stopped her, she kicked me out. After some time to cool off she would let me back. It may sound weird to have a child working in the US, but the job was very adventurous to me overall. I learned so much more working than I had in public school, where I was already ahead, then when I went to college I tested above normal in English and at a low level in math, but I don’t think I would have tested higher in math had I not worked.

My childhood in 6 words = a 16 year long shit show. (I started college at 16)

There were three big problems with math, one anxiety about math, two I was so behind in fractions I needed to go all the way back and the class never did that, and third I thought math wasn’t important (which is crazy since I was interested in living successfully in a capitalist society as well as science such as physics which both rely heavily on math).

Later in college I went all the back to the beginning and learned math decently well, even becoming a math tutor. In a way math really beings when you stop believing it’s bullshit that you hate, but not before.

I worked as a child, I worked as an adult, at 18 I again lived with my dad, I felt so afraid that he would ever have to pay to support me, ashamed at that idea, I would have done better in college without the full time graveyard shift I got, but I would have had to rely on someone else, and I thought I could get all the way through a perfect life without ever needed to do “that” (rely on someone else for help).

At 21 I got an ambulance job working 72 hours on a normal week and 126 hours on messed up weeks when the company “needed someone” because they were “short handed”. In reality they always needed someone, because they made more money hiring not enough workers and driving the ones they had too hard, that means less benefit pay, less training pay, lower wages over all. Like a “going out of business sale” that never ends my company was always “short handed” and I didn’t know how to say no even if I understood it was by their own choosing they were short handed.

I remember one day being hired, the owner of the companies were talking with one another in the office, they said they didn’t have a spot, but were just waiting to fire someone and were very happy to hire me to be able to do it. I didn’t know much about the person, but it gave me a sense of the way things worked, owners used workers like dish sponges, replacing them when they could.

I lived working at the lowest wage jobs as many hours of possible, saving very little that I could have and wondering why I never got ahead.

I met my husband, love at first sight more or less, extreme happiness for 2 years, misery for 5, mild irritation for 2. Never lost hope that we will be happy again “someday”.

I worked until my water broke, two weeks after my first baby I worked (with the baby), I worked without thinking much about it until my daughter was about 2.

Other kids went to story time at the library, we got off work at 5 or 6 PM, all the kids stuff was over by then. Years would pass where I forgot to take off Chinese New Years for the parade, I didn’t make it to the beach 20 minutes away from where we lived, as I worked life passed by.

My husband spent the extra money on a truck he didn’t need for work, we both wasted money, but the truck consumed all my earnings, the truck I didn’t want. I told him, he didn’t care much, he cares some for me, but not so much for my opinion on how he lives his life, I think outside of movies a lot of husband’s are like that.

It was my day off one day, I took my daughter on a walk to the college, no rush (during the week days we were out by 6:15 headed for an hour in traffic), I took her to the snack store, let her look at every treat and decide, she picked her very first ice cream sandwich, we went outside and she starting eating it, it was a beautiful moment of peace in a usually frantic life.

Then I got a text message from work, they didn’t schedule me, but they thought they had and were already waiting for me, I said I would come in, I rushed my daughter home making her cry as I cleaned her messy face in a rush I had promised her wouldn’t happen “today,” as I realized what had happened, I realized who I was (not a bad person, but someone I hated, someone I had never wanted to be, someone I didn’t want to be anymore).

I was the same too busy to live, promise breaking parent that I had always wanted to never be.

I had become the enemy of who I was and who I wanted to be. I realized how much I was at odds with myself.

And I wanted so badly to get out.

I didn’t quit my job that day, but I did start making an exit plan, I didn’t become a good mom that day, but I promised my daughter I would try my best, and that when I could we would do those things other kids got to do (story time ext).

I think it took 4 months from then to quit, I got pregnant with our next and last baby (two for us) and went through a rough pregnancy being pretty impatient and nauseated all the time, then my son was born and my daughter was cast aside a bit, because that’s the reality, I don’t hold them both at the same time, the oldest feels cast aside, because to some extent they are cast aside… then it was rough finding our was as a family of 4 and the day before my son turned 1, COVID. His birthday was the day after the lock down hit our area.

The low point of my life so far has been watching my daughter cry as I wash ice cream off her face to rush to work again, like we always did, but with the awareness of what I was doing.

There were many bad times, perhaps if I got into details some people would cry at some of the things that were done to me as a child, but they don’t get to me much. To me the things I do wrong, are the things that get to me. I can wash away everything that isn’t my fault like temporary marker, but the things I’ve done against my own soul don’t wash away.

I want to use the word Steve McSwain used in the “Enoch Factor” to describe the moment I had with the ice cream sandwich, but I’ll have to look it up, I can’t remember it at all…

But it was essentially two moments of awareness in a mostly unaware, survival mentality kind of life, 1. This is what life should be, supporting my child, in a moment of peace and joy from time to time. 2. I am living a life I hate against everything I want for no reason.

We didn’t need the money I made, my husband wanted it, but we didn’t need it, which is lucky and not everyone has that, I’m grateful I can be at home with my kids, I was scared my husband wouldn’t like me if I didn’t earn money, but at the time he hated me so much for not being the wife and mother he wanted and being the wife and mother I am that it didn’t even make our marriage worse at all… in a way that bad marital satisfaction was very free, I couldn’t loose our marital happiness, which we didn’t have.

My life may not look so different to anyone, but it’s finally at least in part “my life” that feels a whole lot different.

Yesterday I was chatting with my sister, telling her I breathe honestly. She didn’t think it was a thing, it totally is. I just did it again.

If you hate your job and you lied in the interview about “why you wanted it” when you never wanted it, if you get a belly ache to head to work everyday, if you get tired of smiling empty smiles to not seem gloomy because you can’t remember the last real smile, if years go by without you really doing even 1 major thing that you enjoy (like seeing the beach, going to a parade, growing a tomato) and you always think someday you will start living, but it keeps not happening, when you stop doing those things, you start breathing honestly and it feels amazing.

I’ve never been the same person since the pain of the ice cream sandwich face cleaning, broken promises, incident, that pain was enough to move me out of a life time of living on auto pilot, that pain woke my soul up and sent me on a journey to try to live my best life rather then the expected one.

I welcome pain, sometimes I have more than I would have wanted, but in general, I welcome it, as it has given me most of the treasures of my life.

For me pain is the key that opens the closed doors, pain is the spark that lights the fire which keeps me alive during a cold night, pain lights the candle in a dark hallway, pain removes the splinters before they become lingering infections, pain is the mirror that shows me who I’ve become, pain helps me remember what matters, pain cuts through illusions of what can’t be true no matter who says it’s true, pain is the sword of truth in my life, the slap in the face that wakes me up before I fall off a cliff playing Pokemon Go, pain has been the Bonnie to my Clyde and I can’t imagine who I would be without it.

eye close with raised fist
“Fight the Power” (of internal unawareness and victim mentality).

No one will ever free you, until you free your own mind, you can’t go anywhere new tied down to the expectations of others, you should cut the tethers to the past and return there by choice, but return freely, by choice, not as a slave to your fears of what is expected from you.

๐Ÿ—ก๏ธ

๐ŸŽจ World of Artcraft ๐Ÿ–Œ๏ธ

Most Blogs Use Tabs to Organize Topics, Maybe I Should Do That…

FOCUSING ON OILING THE BLOG

It’s taken me a long time to think about what tabs I wanted to use to label my writing. In a well ordered mind, perhaps I would know who I am, what matters to me, what I want to say to the world.

But the truth is I am often scatter brained and confused by this modern world. I do the best I can with whatever I have on hand, everyday. Stephen King forgive me, I live with a zest for life.

Writing turns the notable things into remarkable things right? Kind of punny to me.

There are many things I come across in everyday life, in the course of reflecting on a lifetime, in the world and on the internet (the digital sea) that strike me as worth sharing, discussing or thinking about.

I feel the need to digest ideas and every so often the ones I chew on improve my life so much I think, why not share that, it’s not for everyone, but it was for me and perhaps mentioning it will help the right person find the right tool for this moment?

Because I don’t believe in a fixed destiny, at least not a totally fixed destiny. Maybe some things are destined like birth, aging and death? But I think others are not, I think we can sail this world largely in the course we set, now more than ever. So if I can make some maps to places I either struggled with or enjoyed, why not?

It all comes down to why not?

So, I’m an imperfect person and an imperfect writer, but life keeps showing me remarkable things and I don’t see any reason not to share them with the world.

Finding Barbara Ann Kipfer’s book and website Things to Be Happy About, has been really helpful in showing me the style I would like for my website.

I always had a really veigh sense of what I wanted, glimmers of it, but seeing her site, very close to what I wanted, helps me imagine a way I could REALLY put it together instead of just imagining it.

So I looked at her site and main categories, arranged so cutely as a town, and decided (at least preliminary what I wanted):
Rays of Hope
Light in the Darkness
Distant Stars
Silver Linings
Shinny New Pennies
A Remarkable Life
Habit Garden
New School
Mental Strength
Art Cafe
Wishing Well
Goal Gym
Library
Book Store
Emotional Hospital
Wordcraft
Love
Tiny Farm

I kind of want a song for each, but I’m sure that will come in time.

It seems like an ambitious project to redraw my own version. Somewhere along the years I got really afraid of drawing, I was quite talented or at least a bit talented growing up, I shut that door at some point, threw away the key, and put a chair in front of it, I think if I want to go in there it will have to be from the window and I’ll have to break the window because it is closed. Maybe I can throw a rock at that window?

It seems like part of my creativity follows no productivity schedule.

I’ve noticed that although I really enjoy and write articles, such as this, well (in my opinion and seconted by the kindness of strangers) and decently consistently and with very resonable speed, I’ve strangely been able to have pretty much a writers block in terms of the novel I had started with enthusiasm a few weeks ago.

Interesting to be writing every day or nearly everyday at the same time as having writer’s block. It’s as if I have a Bert and Ernie and the Bert is doing well but Ernie is suffering the loss of rubber ducky or something…

I am attending a writers meeting today and a writers class before that, so hopefully I’ll find a clue to the functional process that is perhaps missing.

I have the:

1. Be Alive,

2. Want to Write.

3. Have Somewhere to Write. < Down, yet

4. Write Things. < Is missing.

In a way that’s just a small problem, when I’m missing steps 1, 2 or 3 it would be much harder to fix.

While avoiding writing a book I decide to try to tackle my artistic side project with a little help from theft.

A LITTLE ARTISTIC THEFT SIDE QUEST

So essentially I want to create a town drawing that links to different pages that then have the articles related to those themes.

Pretty much like Barbara’s things to be happy about, except my own.

Thinking of doing the whole town is daunting for me. It may look simple to you, but it’s a larger art project than I’ve ever done in terms of components.

In my little world there will be Truffala Trees.

So I just decided to start by mapping the whole town very roughly, labeling the sections I want, renaming the sections and changing the labels (using Autodesk Sketchbook a free app).

Kind of copied the town, yet added some extra mountains, shifted the sun, added a light house and ocean. Made it my own in my opinion, but taking advantage of the road layout really helped me lay out things with better perspective and avoid indecision of where to start.
These are my main themes as a writer, I wanted the labels to be mostly clear, but sometimes joking and other times poetic. The first were in blue, just very rough and blunt, the second version is here in pink as a separate layer so I can turn it on and off for drawing.

I decided I wanted to start somewhere, I ended up starting with the Art Cafe, it was a pig shaped idea bank in Barbara’s site, but mine is an homage to Jonathan, the MS Paint Chicken maker artist.

“Sketch for the Art Cafe”

There is a holographic fence with a hole on the bottom right, there are five tables with wooden crates for seats, there is a stair case because there are two floors, the art gallery is the upstairs floor, the bottom floor is a dog friendly cafe. My family dog Canela is lounging comfortably inside. Someday I plan “flesh out” the drawing more, but I find that in this basic sketch I could begin the next step much more easily than I could from a blank canvas. Perhaps some people can just draw the image right away, but I find scaffolding easier. Maybe I have a timid soul, that I need to make a coloring book page for myself, but it is what it is, I am who I am.

Something feels good about creating art, despite the very humble appearance of my work, I did enjoy it and I think someday it will be quite beautiful.

I became inspired to do more sketches by the Step-by-Step City Paper Illustration article in Art Rocket by Vince Dorce:

Vince Dorce
Vince Dorce

My first sketch isn’t at the level of Vince’s but seeing his process was helpful for me to allow me whatever “bones” I need to begin my design process in my own way.

On thing is I just used my touch pad rather than hooking up my drawing tablet. I could probably get more control with my drawing tablet, yet I’m at an annoying phase with it and I don’t necessarily want to be fighting the frustration of beginning to use Krita (the only app that works with my Chromebook, my only computer) at the same time as I try to generate and note down my ideas for the project.

I actually always wanted to have a mostly art based site, where I could write, yet where art was the main focus… but I ran into some problems early on, I was using Inkscape which was fine, but I kept trying to find a better program such as Illustrator and I actually didn’t love the “professional” most legitimate program. Though I loved Adobe Photoshop for a long time, I never clicked with Adobe Illustrator and I tried to force it.

I was a novice in a beginners world. Out of my depth and trying to take on bigger projects and greater challenges than I have the tools to complete.

I must play with passion rather than in an effort to be perfect, because there is no joy in that for me.

I should have given myself time to do tutorials, or practice joyously, but I didn’t, I kept wanting to do better than I could and much much faster than I could until I became disgusted with the difference between what I could do and what I wanted to do. It’s only much later, with all the pressure gone that I have become smart enough to change what I expect from myself to within the limits of what I can currently do.

I know if I begin again, I’ll catch up to normal, I’ve always been talented in art, so perhaps that was the pain point of starting digital art, finding that I’m suddenly untalented in that arena and not at the top of a much larger pond. I find that art is as healing as exercise and I’ve missed it, but I’ve atrophied through years of disuse so that I begin again as a baby would, from level 0. Before I had issues with perspective, with perfectionism, but with very fine motor control, now I have lost that, but gained an acceptance for my imperfections that will hopefully sail me through the sea of digital art unto tropical islands of wonder and fun.

I suppose the very rough Art Cafe was the only thing I needed to break the illusion that I can’t draw things I like, it’s rough, but I like it, therefore I can draw if I want to and satisfy myself (currently my only patron and my only critic).

If I always either draw and write a novel I can always procrastinate the more important one by doing the less important one. I think perhaps that is a fear, that by doing both I will do neither well, but I can do badly at art or writing without doing both. Even if I do only one, it’s possible to do a horrible job at it.

When I imagine my best life, it includes some kind of art, I’ve always found a peace in the flow of drawing, I don’t need to be great at it, there are other people to do that, but if I can represent my ideas graphically, no else can do that for me, it may help me do things I want or good things, it may be a good tool that fits well in a good life, and maybe not, but if I don’t try new things, push myself out of my comfort zone, I won’t find any answers to the questions I haven’t answered about life and about myself, if I don’t practice living I won’t be better at it than I am now.

Even in the wrong direction, walking is better exercise than waiting to live well someday.

I’d like to die knowing I took things almost too far, I squeezed out of life nearly all I could have out of it, that I didn’t not take the road less traveled as I ate the free continental breakfast at the excuse hotel day in and day out, instead of getting started down the path of doing things.

๐Ÿ› Transformation Week XI ๐Ÿงธ

PHYSICAL TRANSFORMATION

As of today I’ve produced 13 B25 videos (exercising wearing a banana costume):
Available Here!
Today I accidentally did Upper Focus instead of Dynamic Core, but mistakes happen.

The mental journey is still the most important aspect of exercising for me, this is the beginning of week 9.

One thing that really inspired me was watching the “World’s Toughest Race Eco Challenge,” the Fiji version with Bear Grylls.

I liked the whole thing, but I guess my husband was always watching for the Mexican team (since he is Mexican) there was one, they didn’t finish, they were not shown much. I was watching for Japan, I’m a US citizen, but I still wanted to see how Japan did.

They did um… horrible. I was looking for a clip online, but I didn’t find it. They got jungle rot, really bad jungle rot, to the point two members of the team couldn’t walk, not even to be air lifted out. It was very hard for the team member who had the radio to call in the air lift, even though there was no way to go on, and looking at the feet of the incapacitated members, they must have suffered greatly. When they were carried to their air lift, crawling on their arms… I felt a certain pride in the stubbornness, but also a certain embarrassment.

So much about that stubborness, but without rewarding results… lives in me.

Team Mexico probably saw they couldn’t do it, and had a nice vacation during the days Team Japan was suffering in agony only to prolong failure.

The New Zealand teams pretty much dominated, they were athletic, but I don’t think they were more so than many of the other teams, they were experienced, but so too were some of the other teams, what stood out to me, and I could be wrong, is they seemed to have the most fun.

So watching these people race for four days or so with no sleep, capsize at the start of the race and still finish first (after nearly dying at the end), one lady with a baby about my son’s age on the first place New Zeland team, not just participating, but nailing it, made my everyday life a bit easier.

Somehow those racers help push me through my mundane struggles now, I guess they live in my heart and keep me imaginary company as I get through dishes, cooking, cleaning, dishes, cooking, cleaning, laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning.

I notice that the race was a conflict between hesitation to push through the pain and discomfort and knowing when to “not be an idiot,” even the best teams rested, rest is not the enemy of activity, but a team member, it’s a delicate balance to rest enough to prevent injury and go enough to carry momentum, because momentum makes exercise quite easy.

No one would exercise if the 100th day was as hard as day 1, but just like at a new job, the first day is the most daunting.

I really hope to go on an Eco Race Challenge with my two kids someday, but I don’t know when, and I’m sure I’ll be old by then and I have no idea the price, yet having that goal gives me a reason to stay in shape. I didn’t have that goal when I started, I didn’t really have a reason to not exercise and I’ve found it to be a patience boosting activity for my impatient mind, but I didn’t have a goal until today, 9 weeks in.

WEEK 4 T25: Beta Mode, now that I’m not sick the exercise feels pretty easy and enjoyable, it won’t when it’s transition time I’m sure, starting each phase is a lot harder for me than continuing. So many good things have happened since I started exercising that it’s almost like a lucky penny, I’m not so concerned with exercise, yet I’m committed to finishing the entire 3 month series for the first time. Very excited that “maybe” someone I know will try out the B25 too, but that means I should go back and record the first month videos that I haven’t covered yet. It didn’t matter to me if people followed the videos vs were inspired to do something else to exercise by the videos, but it’s very rewarding to have someone I know ask me about B25. It feels like “a real thing” now. ๐ŸŒ

FINANCIAL TRANSFORMATION

Very slight recovery for me, I even got one reverse bear stock since the market has been very rough lately for me.
  • 1st Week: $107.95 I have so much money woo!
  • 2nd Week: $104.78 Not as much, but I’m such a good investor still.
  • 3rd Week: $93.31 Seems like I’m not really a good investor.
  • 4th Week: $73.46 Rough market, but husband gaining and I’m loosing.
  • 5th Week: $74.08 Recovered $0.62 between last week and this week.

The market has been so rough I got a reverse stock, something that is meant to go up when the rest of the market dips, kind of out of my depth here, yet it was only $6 (Daily S&P 500 Bear 3X).

So as of now I’ve only lost money in the stock market, but I would still describe the experience as positive, it somehow makes money seem more fun and approachable even though it hasn’t earned me anything at all thus far, there is a certain value to having a non “bill” experience with money.

FAMILY TRANSFORMATION

It was hard to find our rules as a family, how to inspire instead of manipulate, how to balance my teacher hat vs mom hat vs human being hat, but now that it’s done, it’s quietly beautiful.

My daughter wasn’t the “easiest” and I’m not the “hardworking-est” or “find creative solutions-est,” but eventually I was able to set limits and boundaries and doggedly enforce them enough to create a working peace within our household.

I wasted a lot of time wanting solutions that sounded wonderful, but did not work, to work.

I wasted a lot of time wanting to be someone different than I am, wanting to already have skills I didn’t have or already be done disciplining when I wasn’t done.

It took a long, long, long time to find a discipline solution that would work, a panic attack treatment that would work, and the final challenge an OCD reduction method that would work, but all those problems and many more were possible when both we and our daughter were “really” interested in doing the work to “really change” our daily life.

I’m still impatient, but yesterday I made it to 6 PM without becoming impatient, it’s pretty much a new record.

Our life is so much better now, what changed, there is a routine in place for the week so the kids know what to expect. It sounds so simple, but it’s so hard to do when you are getting a lot of push back from the kids to implement activities.

BREAKFAST

Sometime between 8 and 9 AM I serve breakfast (it takes 6 minutes to cook oatmeal and blueberries), there is a short language Youtube video “Fun Fun Elmo” (9 minutes), or Little Pim on Amazon Video, or Rock N Learn on either, possibly one episode of Super Wings (it’s about 10 minutes also). Super Wings is about a plane named Jet, my daughter will have to find where he is going by herself on the globe to earn the exercise, pretty much just because our globe is near the breakfast table. If my daughter takes too long to get dressed or brush her hair there isn’t time for any Super Wings, so she is pretty much never late.

Learn Chinese with Elmo

SCHOOL

Right at 9 AM I give my daughter the computer for Adventure Academy (An App) she plays tag with other real kids, explores science and math for about an hour. She likes it, it motivates her to use her computer skills and her reading skills, the science and math is a bit “watered down” yet it’s good for her to see it two ways (my way and their way).

After breakfast I set up a big outdoor play area (RIE inspired) so my son and daughter are there for “school” for 6 hours, from 9 AM – 3 PM. My son mostly plays, which is good, there is a dog, balls, room to run, bikes he doesn’t use, at 2 PM they tend to swim in the pool.

My daughter is on the computer the 1 hour, then I do a math lesson that varies from 10 minutes to an hour (it’s more about her understanding than the time), then she can have an hour doing paleontology games (Crazy Dino Park), she needs to exercise about an hour, sometimes it’s swimming, sometimes she teaches her little brother Alphabet Exercise.

Learn the ABCs and Exercise at the Same Time Fellow Overachievers.

Lunch happens outside, which is awesome for me to clean my son’s mess, he throws food, the dog eats it, this dog doesn’t steal from the table, pretty easy. I typically fill a tub with water after lunch because both kids love water play even though they are going to go swimming at 2 PM. I can finish the day with free time or story time. I can do more hands on things with them like ASL/Baby Signing Time, art stuff, or less and let them play if I need to make spaghetti (like today).

AFTER SCHOOL

3 PM I clean up everything but the gate, then move the baby, then the gate. I think we all relax, the kids free play. It’s nice to be inside after being outside most of the day. 4 PM I either serve dinner or start getting it together, much like breakfast and lunch, I give myself an hour for the meal to be postponed, served, eaten and cleaned.

MOM TIME

5 PM I spend doing something with my daughter, my son makes it easy right now, he just plays nicely happy to be in a non-focal role most of the day. 6 PM I tend to loose my patience, the kids are wound up waiting for their dad to get home and I’m frankly sick of them by this point.

DAD TIME

My husband comes home at 7 PM, kisses the kids, talks to them a bit, then goes to eat dinner alone for half an hour followed by a shower. My daughter teaches my son music time during this time she used to go crazy (I love that). Right now it’s 7:29 PM, the 4-year-old is teaching the 1-year-old music thanks to Mr. Rob on YouTube and I’m writing this (happily).

Music Time Made Easy and Fun

BED TIME

It’s 8 PM, my husband is tired from work, I have been tired since 6 PM… no baths (that was after swimming), no books (that was during school), instead my daughter watches Meet the Math Facts or Sight Words on red light mode and falls asleep with two kisses and two hugs and one quote:

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only lightย can doย that. Hateย cannot drive outย hate; only loveย can doย that.

– Martin Luther King Jr
No One Wants to Read a Book That Late, Sorry… Not Sorry.

We do a lot of things that other people do, but in kind of non-traditional time frames, like I read books only after lunch, not before bed, but that is what works for us. It took me a long time to adjust after having two kids, with one I just tried doing everything I needed to before or after my daughter was awake, my son takes that time, so I had to integrate what I needed or wanted into the family day at the same time my daughter’s mind was advancing, so the plate of me, the plate of her, the plate of us, that plate of school, the plate of home, many plates… and no alternative than to start spinning them at the same time. It took awhile, but it’s cool in the end.

What was once hard, with practice becomes fun or less difficult at least.

SOUL TRANSFORMATION

Spaghetti today.

Still rotating spaghetti, beef stew, curry, but hoping to add pineapple rice soon. Burned myself three times today making the spaghetti. I was using BBQ prongs to stir, it took me three burns to look for the wooden spoon. I guess it’s not just grab anything to stir… some of you knew that probably.

The first burn, I thought, oh well that happens.

The second burn, I thought, maybe I shouldn’t be in the kitchen.

The third burn, I thought, maybe I shouldn’t be alive…

I got really judgmental with myself, then I realized it, iced my arm with one hand, finished the pasta with the other and resolved to not quit that like the KFC Kernel who made 1090 attempts at selling his recipe before succeeding I will someday persevere with cooking.

MENTAL TRANSFORMATION

Happy with myself.

Looking over the last week, I’m proud of myself. Immediately I think “pride goeth before the fall” don’t know who said that, but they were a joy kill.

“It is in times of security that the spirit should be preparing itself for difficult times; while fortune is bestowing favors on it is then is the time for it to be strengthened against her rebuffs.”

– Seneca

How about I just enjoy this moment of being proud of myself for this evening? I think it’s long overdue to have a modicum of success.

ONE WEEK IN LIFE IN SUMMARY

Starting to find my place in this crazy world.

Body – Going very well exercising.

Finances – Going reasonably well.

Family – Going so well, for once.

Soul – Going very well, except cooking, but still trying my best.

Mind – A tiny bit disorganized in creative projects, but really enjoying life and getting a decent amount done every week. Confidence back. Going well.

Kind of scary when everything is going well isn’t it?

THANK YOU READERS!

Gift baskets tend to have a low value, but this one is the first no value one I’ve given out…

You are the best you the world will ever have. Sometimes I cheer myself up by celebrating that I’m alive, the potential in that. For example who may come up with a new theory in physics, me or Stephen Hawkins? Me, I might, maybe not, but maybe. Who is more likely to get another Nobel Prize, Einstein or me? Me, they don’t award them to the dead. Who cooks better these days, Anthony Bourdain or me? Yeah, it’s me. It may seem silly, but it works for me. Who’s better looking Marilyn Monroe or you, you are, she is desiccated. Who is stronger at arm wrestling, Abraham Lincoln or you? You are.

๐Ÿงธ

(Surprise the hypothetical “Teddy” bear has a wonderful poem as a gift! But what poem could it be? In what arena of poetry does the topic lay?)

๐Ÿ’ Mindfulness Monday VIII ๐Ÿฆœ

Usually I don’t allow myself this kind of mental opulence, but today I feel I deserve it.

The Kon Mari Point

There is a mythical point the whole time organization is going on that one day you will reach your personal level of stuff that works for you.

Let’s say with guns, some gun slingers go with two guns, some find two ridiculous and go with one, I have no idea why you may choose three or four, yet I know those people are out there, then there is the I need five or more guns crowd, and the either can’t own or consciously object to owning guns crowd, or myself not anti-gun but just don’t happen to have one right now.

All items are those guns.

There is your right level regardless of anyone else’s right level.

I think I’ve hit that level for me, it’s minimalistic by American standards, it would fit in a tiny home, yet it would be pretty cluttered compared to some tiny home owners or minimalists.

Watching Little House on the Prarie, I love that life style, high in natural beauty, high in used items, low in unused items (but not completely lacking say a wood plane that maybe isn’t always used, but may be used).

In a sense those people had the best of both worlds, they hoarded items as much as they wanted, and also had a pretty clutter free existence.

I have a catch all bucket that keeps filling up with random school supplies, my husband has his dresser drawer of junk, my daughter has a bucket to dump toys into. But it’s down to one catch all area of very reasonable size for everyone.

When I started there was too much junk, now there is still junk, but it is in a yin yang balance to the empty space now. We have 80% functional items, 10% junk and 10% free space. I’m not basing that on any “real” measurements, I’m just estimating by the feel of the space.

TODAY

Since my husband is against painting I was looking into some new wallpaper that says it’s easy and doesn’t damage the way… not sure if I can believe that after the last wall decals damaged the wall a lot after promising me they wouldn’t break my heart.

In that moment I realized that we can get wallpaper about the same price and less effort than paint, so I may try it.

It’s been about two weeks doing school outside and I love it. I want to buy an apple costume to do school, perhaps for math time at least.

I’m teaching an exercise class dressed as a banana so why not a math class dressed as an apple?

As I was looking at the wallpaper though, I noticed I’m no longer looking for anything to discard, I’m no longer trying to make more room to breathe, instead I am looking to “polish” what is left.

I think this Kon Mari journey is over. I went both further and not as far as I expected. I’m sitting under a guava tree right now.

This is our school ceiling now. I remember counting the dots of the ceiling in my public school classroom, this ceiling is much nicer, more infinite.

This one photosynthesizes, this one refracts sunlight into blue and other colors, this one provides a clock, this one goes all the way to the sun and beyond it.

It may seem unrelated that my school site changed as I decluttered, but to me it isn’t. The silly unwanted junk drained my energy, with more energy I set up the gate I need every day. I didn’t used to know the gate I had could contain the area, then I didn’t know how to adjust the hinges, it seems easy, yet between the two kids yelling, not having my schedule in working order, and being exhausted by meal planning/cooking/feeding any energy required wasn’t available.

I have a comfy nap area that no one really uses, but it’s still nice to have for story time.

Two weeks ago Friday I had a teaching class that just barely introduced me to Charlotte Mason, I had always wanted to do school outside, but I really struggled to make it happen in real life.

The summer here is super intensely hot, getting started in the fall this fall has helped make it manageable. It’s still be high 80s, but high 80s isn’t high 90s or past 100…

I don’t even know where I will be next summer, I don’t know if I’ll be in Hawaii where slugs carry parasites that literally kill children, or still here in California, or in a different place, but I think I will find a way to stay outside. I can’t see myself going back now.

I think some of the indecision of where I will be next year held me back from living well where I am now. I think some of what held me inside was shyness, being in the back yard some people see us, they hear us, we hear them, as an introvert that’s all uncomfortable, but posting my banana exercise videos publicly has made me less shy, it’s funny doing something which seems silly and embarrassing has made everything else silly and embarrassing less embarrassing and therefore easier. I guess that’s what “life begins outside of your comfort zone” leads to, not a constantly uncomfortable life, but an ability to tolerate the discomforts of transitions.

LIMITS

A lot of decluttering was trying to determine what was trash and what wasn’t trash. I have a tendency to keep lids and containers thinking I will do science projects with the kids, then we don’t, and the actually science materials become blocked by the stored trash.

It doesn’t matter what is trash for someone else in my home, but it matters what is trash trash for me. It could be a new dress that doesn’t fit and isn’t worth donating, it could be something worn to pieces, what makes it trash is if I have a current or future use for it and if I want it.

There isn’t much difference between a minimalist and hoarder except percentages.

Every minimalist probably has 1-3 items too many still, but it’s a smaller percent is my guess.

Every hoarder probably does discard something, poop, or who knows what, depending on the hoard.

I think humanity has a very similar process to possessions, joy at new possessions, a bit of loss bias and sorrow at letting go, a desire to keep things that “may be” useful, but it’s a matter of how much do we allow possession joy vs connection joy? How much so we lean into the pain of loss to move on a bit? How much do we acknowledge and allow our own sorrow at the passing of time and changes of life? How much hope do we have for the future to be beautiful? Of course we all want useful things, functional things that let us get through the day (washing machines, clean water, cups, clothes, blankets) but pretty much everything the we would need for that would be in a hotel, the hotel set of stuff, then there is the personal set, out tooth brush ext, clothes, electronics, then there is the hobby or professional equipment, for me school stuff, chalk, black board, things like that.

Thinking it like keeping my individual things I would need to travel (my “backpack” stuff, the things I would need to run a hotel for myself (my “base camp” stuff) and the things I need for my mission in life (teaching stuff right now, my “classroom stuff”) helps me mentally organize what I need or want and don’t need or want. My backpack, my base camp, my classroom.

It makes what feels like a messy life seem easier to divide what I need mentally.

If I had to guess I still have two shoe boxes full of clutter, which may surprise you, or at least surprised me, somehow it feels right to allow that much in my life. Maybe someday I’ll get beyond that too, but I think as I do life will bring in more and I will always have about two shoe boxes of clutter left. Only time will tell.

STORING ITEMS APART

In a very small house it can be easy to think there isn’t room to divide items, but I find it really important to have my own spot. I have one drawer in the bathroom, my daughter has one, her little jewelry is in her jewelry box in her drawer, not in mine. Some items like shampoo we all share, others are individual. Spaces as well, we have our small individual spaces and our shared spaces. My husband likes to go by himself to the sofa at night, that’s fine, he finds a personal space in what is at other times a shared space. I do that with writing, I write near everyone as of now, but they know I don’t want to hear about anything for that time, my private time is physically in the same place, but mentally apart. My son and daughter love having their own drawers and dishes and spaces, they may not use them as neatly as an adult but they feel and understand the essence of having something that is theirs alone and I think they enjoy it and that it’s great. My parents were very much against my sister and I having individual possessions, they thought if we shared all the toys it would be great, but we didn’t find it great at all, we fought like cats and dogs until adulthood. My kids share somethings, and not other things, they are two different people than we were, but having been through it, I think it’s a kind of crime against an individual to prevent them from having a few things to themselves.

AS I LET GO OF THE PAST

The hardest thing was still the little blue stuffed dino my daughter threw out… I don’t regret it, but it was hard. As we let go of the past, the future seems brighter, it seems to open up with possibilities. As I’ve let go of the items I had, I let go of a lot of small failures and I’m ready for new things. Letting go of the past, making room for the future and present has felt really good, we are thinking of getting a house in the next two years and it will be nice not having to pare down for the move, it will be nice to move like a hermit crab a small body into a medium shell.

Perhaps different people must have different relationships with items, some people may carry items through their life time like a turtle, but I prefer to be a hermit crab, leaving what doesn’t fit anymore and transitioning into what does.

FINDING MY TALENT

I enjoy teaching classes via video in costumes, I’m sure I’ll get better at it, but it’s something that feels “oh so right,” in a world that doesn’t often feel like that, so it’s either my talent or the path to it, it’s more than I had to go on before.

A NEW HOPE FOR THE FUTURE

Marie Kondo said there are two reasons you don’t get rid of things you don’t need or want, 1. Fear for the future or 2. Attachment to the past.

Probably the deepest benefits of this decluttering were gaining the hope for the future and flexibility to leave the past in the past. I also enjoy not having enough damn toys in the house to make a huge mess, so my kids can’t even put me in that situation if they wanted to. Oh sure we have toys, but not “oodles” of toys, we once had oodles of toys and the kids would make a big mess, not want to clean and I didn’t want to clean either and whoever did clean in the end hated the other one, now there is not too much for me, they clean or I clean, it doesn’t even matter, because it’s less than a minute or two. That’s nice.

MY MINDSET STARTING OUT:

Bitmoji Image

FOR WEEKS:

Bitmoji Image

THREE WEEKS AGO:

Love people, use things.

– Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus (The Minimalist)

NOW:

I like life in my home to feel like I’m on a vacation to my own state, it may be silly, but that’s what I wanted and I’ve gotten there to a large extent through minimalism.

THE PRESENT

Our home isn’t perfect, doesn’t even look pinterestable, yet it feels like lighter being in there, there isn’t that tense or heavy vibe, it doesn’t seem like a bunch of “cold case” ghosts are lurking or even half finished craft projects… it’s become “good enough for me”. I don’t have myself 100% figured out, but I have myself 70% figured out and that’s enough to know I don’t like cleaning up other people junk and I don’t even like cleaning up my own junk, so therefore we should own the minimum amount of junk possible until either 1. forever (actually forever, I don’t want clutter in the after life keeping me from going to brunch with Jesus on time) or 2. someday someone joins our family who wants to do that, even then that doesn’t seem fair to them.

THE FUTURE

I’m sure I’ll be back in December for the Japanese decluttering holiday Omisoka, I’ll be interested to see if my clutter grew back or remained the same or if the last two shoe boxes became one.

THE PAST

The first step in the Kon Mari process is imagining an ideal life, then examining ๐Ÿ‘’ clothes, ๐Ÿ“š books, ๐Ÿ“ƒ papers, ๐Ÿ’ป everything else, and ๐Ÿ’Ž mementos. This time mementos got lumped into “everything else” as an ex-hoarder everything really is sentimental anyways from the smallest lint to the largest marble bust of Marcus Aurelius (I don’t really have any of those).

ONE PUZZLE SOLVED

E = mc^2 1. Mass is energy, therefore 2. Reducing mass of possessions, reduces energy needed to maintain possessions, 3. Reducing energy cost by items leaves more energy left for people or following your dreams.

I’m not living the same life I was with less junk, at the end of this clean up, I find my life radically transformed, I have a new class, live outside for 6 hours, a new school model (Charlotte Mason), new hope for our family (to live like a modern Little House on the Prairie family), I have new projects going, a novel, possibly wall paper, possibly an apple costume math class and I don’t know if those things were incidental to or due to the clean up, but I feel this project has reached an end.

BEFORE:

Threw out the vacuum, the mail and the phone (really), still have the laundry, coffee and pan, but it’s much better.

AFTER:

We teach one location a day at breakfast, it’s nice being part of the geographical elite with our “actual globe.”

This dead horse is beaten, this rodeo is over, this parrot is dead.

“I know a dead parrot when I see one.”

๐Ÿฆœ

๐Ÿ” That Which Matters Most ๐Ÿ›ฃ๏ธ

“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”

– Goethe

I got really inspired by this quote the first time I heard it…

and never stopped.

It’s almost impossible to describe how much quotes get to me. Probably as much as authors would like readers to be “gotten to”.

I remember the end of “The Lorax”

โ€œUnless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s notโ€ 

– Dr. Seuess
Unless I (or someone) does something, things will generally be as they are. What?!

MONOLOGUE OF ME TALKING TO MYSELF

Me: Maybe because I was 5 years old, maybe for other reasons, I had never thought about that.

I just assumed someone would take care of everything I needed and wanted, even though, often no one did.

It was a real wake up call.

Sometimes someone else is the someone, true, but sometimes it has to be me.

But if I am the someone, what is the what?

Hopefully what matters most is the what.

Myself: Yes, but everything matters differently to everyone.

Me: Sure, but I’ll go with what matters the most to me then.

Myself: Okay, a bit selfish, but okay, what matters most to you?

Me: I guess I don’t really know, other than the kids and if you ask me in detail what about the kids I don’t really know.

Myself: I guess it’s time to reassess your values and define your priorities clearly!

Me, Myself and I: Yay! Values revaluation. Woo!

Russ Harris Values Exercise

The ones that got a gold star are what I feel I really need in my life right now to keep progressing, not what is most important to me over a life span.

MY GOLD STAR VALUES FOR RIGHT NOW

Acceptance helps me cope, I need that.

Compassion helps me approach my loved ones in a respectful manner.

Fun refills my tank to do go, as much as I kind of hate admitting I need that, I need that.

Persistence beats skill over time, I need that focus to allow myself to grow in cooking, writing, drawing and living.

Self-acceptance, to be aware of my thoughts, feelings and actions, prior to accepting them it’s sometimes hard to even notice them.

Self-control, to act in accordance with my own ideas, it makes me feel good about myself, which boosts my spirits in order to carry on day by day.

Joy. It’s not just fun, it’s the reason for helping orphans ext, it’s a good feeling, but not necessarily fun.

WHAT GOT CHOPPED?

Intimacy, kindness and love, because I picked compassion, when I have compassion I don’t have many unkind things develop, I don’t feel the need for intimacy vs compassion and although I value love, I feel the need to be whole and complete within myself without seeing love as a value right now.

Right now I’m in a less codependent season of life, I’ll still take and give love, but without it being my main focus.

Skillfulness and humility (seemingly at odds) are both going to take a back seat to persistence and acceptance. I will write as best I can, draw as best I can, exercise as best I can, live as best I can and that will be my focus rather than underplaying or touting how poorly or well it goes.

Assertiveness is chopped for now, I will be persistent about doing things myself rather than assertive about asking for help, for the most part, I’ll take the help, but asking will take a back seat to learning and doing it myself in this season of my life.

In this moment what matters most for me to focus on are:

Acceptance ~ Compassion ~ Fun ~ Persistence ~ Self-Acceptance ~ Self-Control ~ Joy
Truffula Tree Forest from The Lorax | Dr seuss art, Trufulla trees, Lorax  trees
Planted any Truffula Trees this year?

As a girl I remember truffula trees as extremely beautiful… as an adult, I still like them, but they aren’t quite as beautiful in this moment as they were in my memory, I’m sure my mother was like that. I remember her as beautiful in the years I was a baby, average in the years I was a child and kind of gross when I was grown up, probably because I can’t separate who she and her face mentally, more than the aging process.

In medicine someone can be considered alert if they are “alert and oriented times 4”, three is also good enough, at two they are so confused that you can just take them to the hospital against their will because they may have high blood sugar or head trauma or something crazy going on – that were they less confused they would say – thank you for saving me. Even if they don’t thank you later, the law says go ahead.

The four criteria are name.

1. What’s your name? (Freebie.)

2. Where are you? (Kind of hard if you are super drunk…)

3. What date or at least time is it? (I don’t always know this.)

4. What are you doing here? (I usually know this.)

I propose a fifth criteria of what are your most important life values and focus right now?

I say this because even after I check my current values, deeply and honestly, I keep forgetting throughout the day.

So, I try to schedule reminders or times to reflect.

I like to have a theme of the day in the morning, but as my values and focuses shift I have to shift the schedule as well.

I know the values are right for me, when checking them invigorates me, I know they are wrong when I no longer get any joy from checking them.

Possible new schedule:

Self-Control Sunday?

Self-Acceptance Monday?

Persistence Tuesday?

Compassion Wednesday?

Acceptance Thursday?

Fun Friday?

Joy Saturday?

The schedule is something I have to wear in like new boots, it never feels right the first day.

Actually this post was going to be about priorities not values, but I realized I needed a refresh.

I suppose I’ll prioritize my values right now, I don’t think I’ve ever done that, I’ve picked 6 or 7 and left them as equals.

In terms of what I feel I need to learn or grow to be a more balanced person in the moment and head towards my goals this feels right:

TOP TIER

1. Persistence 2. Self-Acceptance 3. Self-Control

MID TIER IMPORTANT BUT FLEXIBLE

4. Acceptance 5. Joy 6. Fun 7. Compassion

I defiantly want joy and fun on the weekend now looking at it again. Fun Saturday and joy Sunday.

Perhaps Friday check-ins and acceptance.

Perhaps self-acceptance Thursday?

Monday self-control, Tuesday persistence, Wednesday compassion?

I’ll give it a try that way.

Had to make a Google Keep Note of that or I will for sure forget.

Note it or forget it (me at least).

What’s different in 2020?

I prioritized my values for the first time:

1. Persistence 2. Self-Acceptance 3. Self-Control

So when I check in on Friday and plan for Monday I will be weighing those values higher.

It’s easier getting somewhere when you know where you want to go.

What are your priorities, really, do you really know them or are you just saying family and love without thinking?

๐Ÿ—บ๏ธ

๐Ÿ”ฎ WORLD OF WORDCRAFT VII โ„๏ธ

A small special thing that happened to me today was I saw the feather in the title of an article “๐Ÿ—ฟย So, What Matters in Life Then?ย  ๐Ÿชถ” (it’s at the end).

Coming sometime in 2020.

At the end of the movie “Forest Gump” a feather flies around and the question is discussed if life follows destiny or free will or both, that feather reminds me of that moment. Of questioning the wonder and complexity that is objective reality and subjective reality and the mesh-work of society that forms this world and the mesh-work of planets that lies outside of this world. My mind enjoys questioning everything all together, and though I don’t get many answers, the feather just floating along seems to say, “it’s okay for you to ask though, we all ask sometimes, it’s okay, life is okay.”

There is a lot of hope in that feather, which is a loose body part of an animal, a piece of trash actually, which just happens to be very aerodynamic. A piece of trash from a bird littering the world, but in such a pretty way. Birds are dinosaurs actually, theropod dinosaurs, proven by DNA tests, their feathers seemed to be made for insulation and identification before flight and then flight just developed as a possibility…

I wrote the article and looked for the right symbol/emoji to end with, when I found the feather I never knew for sure if it would work later on my system, it was a very, very small leap of faith to use it, but I did and today it brings me an irrationally large amount of joy to see it now.

I think it’s important to accept those moments of joy as they are, it’s easy to turn them down, thinking what makes you happy shouldn’t make you happy and something else should, but when you turn down the things that really make you happy (that are allowable by ethics) then there often isn’t something else coming that seems more PC or suitable to societal standards coming, in my experience it just leads to a self created famine of joy.

I didn’t write so much of the book, I started to get a daily habit going, then one day my daughter kept bothering me so frequently. Though I played with her already, I do a special time with her almost everyday for an hour, she wasn’t content to let me enjoy my hobby without bothering me over and over and over and over, and again.

She probably does want more time with me (we are always at home together… more attention I guess). But I don’t want more time with her at all. Not at ‘tal… so what can we do? I don’t know yet. I’m not playing kids games for more than an hour, I hate that so much it’s barely possible to justify to myself doing it for the one hour as it is. She wants more, I want less, what will we do?

I’m better thus far at being interrupted for articles and going back to them, it’s very difficult for me to go back to the novel writing for some reason.

I absolutely hate that I’ve had such a bad time with my daughter’s disobedience and interrupting that I’ve quit after three days, but that is what happened. I tired, it was going well, it was hard, but it was going well, then it got unfesable to continue. Perhaps if I just pretend to write for a week? Simply strike the keyboard… then I won’t be as annoyed when my daughter tries to stop me.

I changed my life for her, left work to take her to activities we couldn’t go to when we got off work at 6 PM, I try to arrange the experiments she wants to do, the activities she wants to do, try to involve her in her learning so she can choose what topic, book, or subject she wants to pursue, and when something is important to me and appropriate in how long it takes (I was only trying to write for 30 minutes) she absolutely does not care at all about me following my dreams or just being fair that I help her do the things she wants to and it would be reciprocity to help me have a moment as well. My daughter is 4, my son is 1. My son plays by himself or with me, he claps for me when I try to do something good, he says things like “thank you” even though he can barely talk at all. My daughter would crush every single dream I have if she could just so I wouldn’t offend her sense of ownership of me by ever being unavailable to get her “ice cold water” when it isn’t even hot. I don’t remember spoiling my daughter, but she is so spoiled. It was as if she didn’t need to be spoiled to become spoiled, but that her natural expectations from the world were that everyone in it would give her the best of everything with no work on her part ever. It annoys me to almost no end. Sometimes I feel guilty about not loving the entitlement that makes up a huge part of my daughter. But it’s only human to find some traits that are largely normal for some people are a yuck for others.

We just spent 30 minutes discussing what my daughter wants for her birthday coming up soon, if I felt at all guilty for calling her entitled before that conversation I don’t after it.

When I grew up our parents did get us gifts, but for some reason they almost always got us something we didn’t want that was more or less the same price as what we wanted. I’ll never forget the first time I got what I wanted, I wanted a soccer ball, not a team brand, just a normal soccer ball, a family friend got me one. I was so happy, my parents had never thought it was right to get me what I wanted, they wanted it to be a surprise, but without taking the time or expending the effort to come remotely close to what I liked. The strange thing in hindsight was that they could have spent the same or less to get me something I liked. As a child I thought it was about money, but it was more about not believing it was right to let us have what we asked for. There was a stigma that buying us what we asked for would spoil us, yet buying heaps of other things wouldn’t… I don’t think I’ll ever understand my parents, if I don’t understand them now as a parent myself, I don’t know what would happen to give me insight on their world so far removed from what seems like reason to me. Becoming a parent helped me forgive my parents, it didn’t help me understand them much at all though.

So, since my husband will get my daughter what she wants for her birthday anyways I leveraged the negotiation that she will not bother me when I write if she wants her birthday presents. Terrorism? I don’t know. Effective? I don’t know. But I’m often just grasping at straws in family life.

Another thing that happened as I was writing along is that I started not liking some of what I was writing a few days in, so I switched to trying the snowflake method as an outline.

Hopefully I’ll spend 25 minutes working on it later today. I’m trying to build a habit of having time for the book writing, it may be hard to get started, but if I can just get started I feel like it will feel easier a week from now.

all the best
So she set out that Wednesday, hoping to try to write more of the book outline using the snowflake method, not knowing if the day would result in success or failure, or if it was terrorism to withhold birthday presents hypothetically to buy some writing time.๐Ÿชถ

Snowflake Method Introduction by Randy Ingermanson.

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