Aside

Books-

Non-Fiction-

Survival Lessons
Alice Hoffman
4 stars
I didn’t think I could love Alice Hoffman more until I read her short memoir of her battle with breast cancer. No matter what you are going through in life, her words will be a balm to your soul.

French Women don’t get Facelifts
Mireille Guiliano
3 stars
As I personally develop more awareness of the toxins and chemicals in commercial products, I must admit to disagreeing with a number of her recommendations. I did however, find it interesting to read about life from the perspective of one who has been through so much change. I think it is good for me to remember that one day there will be consequences to all of my repeated actions in potentially drastic ways. Easy and mellow read.

Salt, Sugar, Fat
Michael Ross
4 Stars
Truly by the end of this, all I could think was that if as much time, energy and scientific resources went into agriculture and feeding people REAL food as goes into the fake stuff, al solid 25% + of the worlds health and other problems wold be solved. Only read this if you have a punching bag nearby(though that’s how I’ve been feeling about a lot of non-fiction recently)

Unless in Moves the Human Heart
Roger Rosenblatt
2 stars
Reminded me too much of college writing classes, all critique and academia, no beauty or passion. I’m not saying a writer shouldn’t know grammar, I’m saying one should be encouraged to learn rules and break them freely.

 Fiction-

The Language of Flowers
Vanessa Diffenbaugh
4 stars
Being a romantic, and a Victoria, myself, I found myself relating to this story on an unnaturally deep level. The simple premise, of a girl speaking through a forgotten language, speaks symbolic volumes. The entire style reminds one of flowers, simple on the surface and yet with every deeper though, becoming more and more complex, ending in an timeless message of growth. Sad, beautiful, wonderful read.

Game of Thrones- A Dance with Dragons
George R.R. Martin
Bah! I broke my rule- always wait til the series is ended, that way you can read it all, but no, now I must wait for the next book, unable to relieve the torturous misery! The pain! The pain!……

Like Water for Chocolate
Laura Esquivel
4 stars
A joy to read, sweet, easy, powerful.

 Restaurants-

Ashland-

Mix Sweet Shop-
Best Coffee place on the road so far- coffee, tea, desserts, quality food, wifi, cute basement area, and Strawberry terrariums, what more could one need?

Thai Palace
We went here for Zoe’s 21st birthday, it was the only place close by that had alcohol and vegetarian food. We sat outside in the sun on the back patio, listening to a babbling creak while we stuffed ourselves silly on rice noodles, veggies and chili sauce, even leaving leftovers from two meals split by four hungry young people. The waitress brought Zoe a complimentary dessert of thai tea vanilla creme brulee’ that sent each of us into spasms of sugar and cream induced joy. The sugar feast was topped off with their “Buddha Bowl” of rum and juice in a deep stone dish, set on fire and decorated with fresh orchids, enough that we all stumbled back to the car and hung out in the park for a while before being able to drive home. Wonderful day 😀

Eugene-

Library- I want to live there, they have a coffee shop with dollar coffee and great prices of everything else, ebook collection, massive computer areas, the magazine section carries stuff I’ve never even seen before, and the staff is amazingly sweet. Truly, I would simply live at the library if they’d let me, and I’d live or commute to the area just to go there. I’m a little obsessed. Obviously.

Winco- is the best grocery store in existence. great produce section, bulk foods selection, amazing prices on everything. Yes, just yes.

Cush Cafe’
We got turned onto this little up and coming place by a friend who works here as one of the bakers. It is a giant renovated old house turned into the most complex coffee shop I’ve ever seen. They carry a moderate selection of gourmet drinks, including the most delicious decaf chai I’ve ever tasted with spices that will give a healthy burn on the way down, along with a collection of organic coffees. The food is amazing, with pecan pie, peanut butter chocolate chip, banana walnut bread, and espresso chocolate nut on the tasting list all passing muster with flying colors. There is a piano, a guitar and bongos, among other instruments always available to play, as well as a stage and pool tables set up in the back all ready for the regular concerts and open mikes hosting here every week. The back patio is beloved by the boys, as they have a place to be outside hammering away at projects and smoke. This place is a must visit if you are ever in the area.

Recipes-

 Vitamin bowl

Soak 3 types of beans(i use black beans, black eyed peas and kidney beans) in a 1 cup beans to 2 cups water ratio overnight. Add wild rice, quinoa, millet, and lentils at a 1 cup grain to 1 cup water ratio. Put on stove and cover, stir about even twenty-thirty minutes until all the water is gone. Ultimate cure for anemia and impossibly helpful for PMS and cramps. I add the mix to scrambled eggs, tortilla wraps, or add cheese, meat and curry paste for a filling dinner.

Gourmet Grilled Cheese
Spread two slices of bread with cream cheese, on one slice add avocado, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and dill. Add slices of cheddar and/or pepperjack cheese, close sandwich and add to hot buttered pan, cook both sides evenly. Can also add bacon, or a fried egg for a breakfast sandwich. Also, spreading butter on the outer sides of the sandwich first makes for a more even crisp, if you are as particular as I am 😀

 Homemade Rice Free Sushi

spread 1/4 avocado across a piece of nori paper, lay a line of cream cheese and smoked salmon down the middle, roll and done! Can also use other canned/smoked fish or top with roe. I’m also found of adding chipotle chili powder for extra spicy flavor

 Camping-

Ashland-
Let me put it this way- we were camped for four days on the side of a small highway, right by the entrance to a private airport from which planes and helicopters were taking off and we never even saw a cop drive by, much less mess with us. It was a little disconcerting actually, but fun sights to watch over breakfast.

Eugene-
Sorry folks, staying with friends in this area, so all safe n snug with no fun cop stories(hopefully), but there have been so many cute kittens!!

Vending

Ashland-
More invites than straight sales, though the networking was definitely worth it as a lot of custom stuff was ordered.

Eugene-
Laid back street vending and a LOT of activity. The Saturday Market drum circle is very popular. There also happen to be a lot of feeds in this area, if that’s a need.

May Carousel

Standard

Enjoy some lovely end of May thoughts!! XOXO!!

 

All your relationship problems solved:

http://theeditorsjournal.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/the-difference-between-men-and-women-very-very-true/

For the Love of Lingerie:

http://en.rocketnews24.com/2014/04/29/what-if-sailor-moon-characters-were-lingerie-models-theyd-look-stunning-like-this-【photos】

True Help for the Homeless, I can’t wait for the rest of the country to follow suit:

http://www.nationofchange.org/utah-ending-homelessness-giving-people-homes-1390056183

As the noose tightens around our freedoms, here is proof that even charity is now a crime, i.e. if you want to help people, your donation must go through a specific or government organization so WE can determine how it’s used, control the money, control it all:

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/05/12/3436712/daytona-beach-feeding-homeless/

From Makeup to ART!

http://upopin.com/tal-peleg-eyelid-paintings/

It’s art, no it’s a landscape, no it’s a photo, no it’s real……

http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/neil-simone-surreal-paintings

Nutrition data, otherwise known as the eat-real-food-and-enjoy-life-because-it-doesn’t-matter-anyway science:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140512214128.htm

I don’t know which is worse- how much the Pharmacutical industry will charge for a treatment to bypass exercising, or the fact that American’s will pay anything to mot have to live a healthy lifestyle in the first place:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140512112547.htm

When you’d lost all hope in science and medicine, this comes to renew the world of possibility!:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140513132703.htm

Paper sculptures!

http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/katharine-morling-ceramic-sculptures

For the Relationship challenged, here are some difficult but renewing truths:

http://markmanson.net/6-healthy-habits

Whole new level of Flower Fairy Fashion 😀

http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/grace-ciao-fashion-illustrations

so much cute!!

http://www.mymodernmet.com/xn/detail/2100445%3ABlogPost%3A1209765

I want this artist to do a mural in my home!!

http://www.mymodernmet.com/xn/detail/2100445%3ABlogPost%3A1235755

Fashion, Art, Cosplay and just downright beautiful!

http://the-dame.com/epic-headwear-posh-fairytail-couture/

What is homesteading exactly?

http://woodridgehomestead.com/rebirth-of-self-sufficiency/to-make-a-homestead/

If you are interested in becoming more self-sufficent and overwhelmed at how, this article is a great start for learning how to take the transition to your own comfort level:

http://newlifeonahomestead.com/2012/10/how-to-homestead/

Zoe and I just started getting super into knitting, this is now the goal:

http://www.mymodernmet.com/xn/detail/2100445%3ABlogPost%3A1235472

Political statement- Photographic proof that we all in fact are just people, what a novel idea!

http://www.mymodernmet.com/xn/detail/2100445%3ABlogPost%3A1205326

Art coming out your ears!

http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/smartwater-10-artists-who-shatter-perceptions-of-reality

For the DIY and environmentally inclined, homemade solar lamps:

http://newlifeonahomestead.com/2012/04/diy-sun-jars-homemade-solar-lights/

Summertime Stroll

Standard

Image

Pic: Deviant Art d1efwgs

With a few hours alone I decided to take advantage of the rare peace offered and go for a walk up the road, as I’ve not had a chance to explore the area much. The lady across the street has a small farm and a couple of horses, quietly grazing as I strolled by picking wildflowers. I must have found twenty kinds just within sight of the road in the mile or so I walked. I picked one of each to show to Zoe when she got back, though I did not pick any wild strawberry blossoms, that would just be cruel. I also found a gorgeous white star shaped flower that grew just a foot to far to reach on my own. I found a tree with a moss blanket sprinkled with flower so tiny it required a magnifying glass to see their detail. A true fairy forest indeed.

The strawberry theme continues, as Pam brought back a flat of strawberries from a farm a few miles down the road, and we have already had more chocolate dipped strawberries, oatmeal with strawberries and bananas, and as I write this there is a strawberry rhubarb pie in the oven. I even chopped up some of the chocolate dipped strawberries into a parfait for extra decadent deliciousness. Five of the seven in our group love to cook, so fortunately primitive living is very physically active or I would never be able to keep up with what the kitchen produces! Even so, I try to make sure to carve out time for more relaxing and fun physical activity, walks, yoga, hula hooping, dancing to music and whatnot. For a long time I tried the “fitness regime” of daily activity but found I was more likely to actually be active at all if I just made it a goal to play everyday instead. Much easier to look forward too, though sometimes easy to toss aside in favor of more “practical” activities. Be firm, go have fun.

Parfait Decadence
I’m not typically one for endorsing a brand, but the greek gods original plain yogurt is the most delicious healthy yogurt I’ve ever eaten. It’s very thick, actually more like ice cream when it’s cold and makes a perfect afternoon treat when topped with granola, nuts, and in my most recent foray into true decadence mango and strawberry drizzled in chocolate 😀

 

Oatmeal for a Pile
Cook bacon in griddle pan, pour rolled oats, a serving per person, into leftover gristle, add butter and toast oats to golden brown. Splash in milk or cream, crack in one-two eggs per person, add pile of grated cheese, stir until cooked through. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and dill. For savory oatmeal top with bacon, avocado, roasted peppers, onions and other vegetables. For sweet, top with strawberries, bananas, cocoa powder, jam, honey or nuts. If you love the taste of toasted oats, you can also fire the oats with whiskey before adding the milk, to give a rich and nuanced flavor. ( I love variations, base recipes, let everyone add extras to their preference, easiest way to cook for a crowd)

Image

Pic: Deviant Art Suuperx

I’ve been relishing the time at home the last few days, the chance to explore and catch up on activities set aside due to the rigors of travel. I even got a chance to paint my toe nails- an opportunity that should never be passed up . Every time you look at them you can remember that there was a time when you weren’t running frantically around trying to be productive and can look forward to such moments again. It’s such a wonderful mode of self-care. I can get aesthetic about such indulgence sometimes- what about the chemicals? the corporate overlords? the societal expectation for how women should look or act, am I playing into that role? and on and on and on. Sometimes, painting nails is just that, enjoyment and creative expression. I smile when I see gold shining on my toes, mission accomplished.

 

I woke up to what might be a miracle of evolution in the greenhouse. Two sister cats had been pregnant, one gave birth about two weeks ago- the kittens I’ve been talking about on here. And the other was still pregnant, and surprisingly taking on baby sitting duties quite regularly(even grandma kitty did some kitten sitting), and at some time in the night, the second cat gave birth to four more miniscule bundles of fur in the very same nest in the greenhouse! So I walked in with my tea and journal for my morning kitten meditation and found a pile of fluffy purring joy! Four newborns, three two week olds, two momma kittys and a grandma all piled together happy for me to join them (though that might have been the turkey I brought too…) in reveling in baby-wonderfulness.

 

Image

Pic:Mother Earth News

Poor Aaron was torn between holding adorable kittens and dealing with the sudden upheaval in his allergies. As it turns out adding some cinnamon to local honey can enhance the anti-allergy effects, and there are some very good homeopathic treatments out there, look for ones that mention histamines for the best effect in my experience. Zoe had been complaining of excess breakouts from stress recently so I made her some bail infused jojoba oil as treatment, and in just a day(two applications) it’s started to clear up. I put in a handful of fresh chopped basil in a jar, smashed it some to release the oils, added about a 1/2 cup of jojoba and put the jar in a crockpot of water to slowly warm it, making the infusion time a day rather than two weeks.

Image

Pic: Deviant Art Andarin

Perception

Magic and all things beside

If you don’t look you’ll never find

or hear the changes on the tide

whispering what needs to die

or hear the challenge to the self

a power beyond mortal health

seeking to steer us to farther places

than we could reach with mortal paces

but close your eyes and soul to hide

wake young wishing you had died

 

 

 

Maytime Market and Summer Wine

Standard

Image

World peace can be achieved with kittens, I’m sure of it. Maybe puppies too. Add a couple of otter and fox kits in there and we are omming our way into enlightened greatness. It’s been the greatest blessing on my soul to be able to wake up in the morning and take my coffee into the greenhouse to pet the fast growing kittens. Their eyes are just beginning to open now, and they are in the perfect fluffy roly-poly stage of playfulness to leave you laughing for hours as they try to walk around and tackle each other, only to fall belly up little paws waving to grab your finger. Bliss. This is followed with a close second of fresh picked strawberries at the Farmer’s Market downtown. We snapped up a pint right off, and I had to defend it to make sure any made it home for yogurt parfaits and chocolate dipped madness. By the time we got home from the market, Pam (who is everyone’s adoptive mom at this point) was making spinach and feta calzones fresh from the bounty of her garden, add a dash of Firefly (damn Fox for canceling that show!!) and a gentle rainfall to make the best night’s sleep in a few weeks and much needed after the exhausting fun of the Ashland adventure.

 Strawberry Madness
Melt about 1 cup of chocolate chips for a full pint of strawberries in a double boiler. Put 1/2 cup of heavy cream into a skillet over medium heat, add 2 tbs honey and salt, stir occasionally, let boil gently until the mixture thickens to a custard consistency. Let cool about 10 minutes while stirring occasionally. Dip strawberry in chocolate, place on try to cool, then dip into caramel and sprinkle with sea salt. Enjoy your sugar coma.

 

A little boy runs across a farmer who has a truckload of cow manure.  The boy asks him what he is going to do with all that cow poop.  The farmer tells the little boy, “I’m taking it home to put on my strawberries.”
The little boy looks up at the farmer and says, “I don’t know where you come from, but where I come from we put cream and sugar on our strawberries.”

      The strawberry theme has been pretty predominant lately, when we were in Arcata a little stone shop, for some unknown reason, was giving away free strawberry shoots. We took one, put it in our largest coffee mug, put some dirt from the ground outside in it along with some St. John’s Wort powder and water to help with the transplant shock, and put it in the window by the driver’s seat remembering every time we drove somewhere to water it. When we got to Eugene we simply put it outside and forgot about it. Coming back from Ashland the other day, I looked over to find that it is actually starting to bud and is outgrowing it’s pot. I love nature, live, let live and eat strawberries for your lack of trouble.

 

For everything you ever needed to know about strawberries, plus more silly jokes, visit: http://strawberryplants.org/

 

 

Image

Myrrh displayed at Avdat, a stop on the Incense Route. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

 

As it turns out, strawberries (I truly did not plan the post to go this way, the strawberries are taking over my brain) are actually quite good for your teeth. Their high acid content helps to whiten your teeth and the high vitamin C content is good for overall immune system health. This is good news as with all the chaos I’ve been sorely neglecting my teeth. But I’ve been surprised at how healthy my teeth have remained even with the neglect. I”ve found that using an electric toothbrush helps a LOT esp if you tend to be irregular about it. I dip it in baking soda and cinnamon to use as a tooth powder and my teeth glow white. I’ve found that a good mouthwash is a distilled alcohol such as whiskey or vodka cut with a 1 to 5 ratio with distilled water and a single drop per cup of any or all of: tea tree, cinnamon, myrrh, or fennel essential oils. DO NOT SWALLOW. It won’t do any lasting harm to the vast majority of people, but essential oils are potent and can wreak havoc on your digestive system even in small quantities(though the recipe I gave is very dilute, hence it’s safety as a mouthwash). Diarreha is the most common reaction, often accompanied by a headache. But it’s very good for your teeth and doesn’t affect the kidneys, brain or nervous system the way excess flouride does. And besides being in standard toothpaste it’s also in any water that goes through a treatment plant and a variety of foods.

 

Image

Picture: One of Aaron’s hand forged knives. He invented the folding technique that gives the steel that wood-grain pattern

I had no idea my request for whiskey to make another batch of mouthwash would send the boys into such a tizzy. They decided they wanted to make their own and commendered all of the apples, peaches and strawberries they could get ahold of, and I had to fight them over my fresh local honey, lest it in up in the brew as well(they ended up using bulk honey instead). After a week of fermenting, it’s been strained and is sitting until all of the silt goes to the bottom. In between this, the boys have been leaving blackened fingerprints everywhere as they are handling so much charcoal nearly everyday. Aaron is teaching Sakka how to forge and he has now completed his first knife, and is now working on the hard part: sanding, hour upon hour……

I’ve been alternating between the knitting circle and my crazy quilt. I love the idea of crazy quilts- all the fun mismatched pieces of beauty I’ve collected over the years being blended together to make a work of art. I’ve been making mine multi-layered and have even added faux flowers and leaves to create patterns along with the embroidery. I love mixing things like this, practicing quilting, embroidery, ribbon embroidery and wool work all in one piece creates deminision I could never achieve otherwise and serves to keep me from getting bored with a project. I really think it’s all about figuring out the personal little quirks it takes for you to get things done, the same methods simply don’t apply to everyone. Though really, my bigger issue tends to be how I like to overload my plate. “I want to do all the things!!!” then a week later I’m huddled in the corner crying that I can’t keep up with everything. Pacing and Finishing are ongoing battles, but I get better every year as I become frustrated with the emotional strain of acting otherwise.

 

I’ve been asked the question before, why bother to knit socks or sew quilts or craft x,y,z when you can get it cheaper at the store? And really it’s about something beyond money(gasp!! I know, in this culture? is it possible?) but it’s true. It’s about 1.) simply having a channel to create something of beauty( I also find it quite meditative), 2.) being able to make it custom in ways you can’t find in a store such as size, color and oftentimes full designs, and most importantly 3.) not being part of the system of human slave labor, corporate overlords and environmental destruction. If we raise sheep or purchase wool from independent farmers, we are being ecologically and local economy conscious. If we make it ourselves we have an outlet for creativity, a means to show love to our friend family, and we are not participating in the cycle of slave labor forced on 3rd world countries. Sure, it takes time, but I can talk and knit/sew, or watch a movie and knit/sew or ride in the car and knit/sew and, well, you get the picture. It doesn’t really impede life at all, and in fact makes all the little pockets of idleness and waiting throughout life far less tedious. Though I have offended many people trying, I cannot read a book and have a conversation at the same time, so handicrafts must suffice. It’s also such a wonderful feeling of accomplishment when I finish a project. It’s there, in my hands, a little piece of my life and I can use it or gift it how I choose. I have simply found it a much more positive and powerful way to give of my life-energy, and have found I appreciate it more when it’s given to me in a likewise fashion. As with everything, it’s about not being part of the mainstream cycle.

 

In the light of the Full Moon

Standard

Image

I found a handful of wild bleeding hearts when piling wood for the campfire Monday night. We watched the start of the full moon rise as we roasted mini marshmallows over the campfire, squishing the burnt sugar between pieces of 60% dark cocoa since we were out of graham crackers. My personal favorite way to make s’mores is a super jumbo marshmallow, burnt outside, melty inside, squished between 60% cocoa or higher, and cinnamon graham crackers- the perfect vanilla-chocolate-cinnamon flavor combo. Add an oatmeal stout for the feast of campfire dreams.

We returned to Ashland on Tuesday to look at some very promisingly plots of land, taking just the Honda and trailer. Lacking the RV setup we had a wonderful time in the local park having a picnic dinner and telling bad jokes until midnight. Aaron managed to tell a twenty minute joke with a terrible pun for an ending, effectively putting us all to sleep, after I tickled him for tormenting us all of course 😀

If you want to check out some naughty and nice geek humor, check out one of my favorite online comics, The Devil’s Panties

http://thedevilspanties.com/archives/1371

As well as being quite busy with land research, there have been a couple of health issues. One of our group got a pretty bad spider bite, which we treated with activated charcoal to draw out the poison. Poor Harold neutering cut reopened making a thumb sized open wound and I’ve been covering it with honey to help it heal, though it’s been requiring me to hold Harold a lot so that he doesn’t lick it off right away (he has been loving the honey treatment of course). I was happy to find both mullein and yarrow growing in the area and have dried and processed both for future use. While mullein works best fresh, the dried leaves used as a tea will also help as an expectorant and aids with most respiratory illnesses. Yarrow is one of the best herbs for any kind of topical abrasion as it staunches bleeding and promotes healing processes. My preference is powdered and mixed with honey. Spread it on the wound, cover if needed and repeat every few hours, it will heal in half the time as without treatment.

Image

Wild Yarrow (picture from Wikipedia- not a reference for information, just the photo)

Our campsite hosts are absolutely wonderful. A couple that has been together for 30 years and raised 3 kids, they have been through everything and a handful of travelers is just a little excitement to them. Pam has been teaching Zoe and I how to knit, and while I enjoy it as a relaxing pastime for productivity while watching a movie or socializing, Zoe has reached a level of obsession bordering on manic. She has already completed a couple of hats, most of a scarf and is making me the most amazing thigh-highs in history. I predict our land will end up hosting quite a few more sheep than previously expected. There is also talk of alpacas and rabbits. Oh my.

Brian has become my new favorite debate partner over everything from history to religion to health to politics and beyond, and during our discussions his hands have been busy making all of us traditional moccasins out of deer hide and, of all things, rhinoceros hide. I was surprised it was even legal, but he found it at the leather shop and it is the thickest hide I’ve ever seen, and perfect for soles.

The hardest thing I’ve been finding with the community set-up is alone time, yes, I know, oh the irony. Trying to write the story I’m working on, or get these posts written is shockingly hard with so many people around, or trying to allow for so many people’s schedules. I am becoming more sympathetic to parents by the minute. Trying to create words of my own while other people are talking is not just rude in most circumstances, but downright impossible oftentimes. I’ve been struggling with priority. Community is vital and relationships are the most important aspect of life, but creativity is soul food. Making sure to carve out time for it makes it possible to have relationships, since you will find you have food to share once sated.

Speaking of community, I’ve been loving finding out about all the local places for community gathering and aid in the Ashland and Eugene area. Keep it up!! We are soon to join!

This organization helps out youth in need in this area:

https://www.generosityfeeds.org/or/eugene

Fertile Farms

Standard

My squeals of joy could be heard a few miles away when I woke up to hearing that one of the cats had her kittens in the night. After arming myself with a bribe of bacon, eggs and cheese, I booked it into the greenhouse to see the four little furry balls of joy. Momma kitty was happy to trade petting her kittens for bacon(shameless, I know), though she took another day of bribing before she’d let me pick them up. Zoe and I are trying to figure out how we can convince the boys that we need a kitten. And really, we’d have to get it young so that we could train it for the road, and to not eat Harold(the rat). I kind of love the idea of Harold giving the kitten a run around though (youtube videos anyone?). Either way, I’ve spent the last few days taking every moment I can between chores to run into the greenhouse and gently pet momma and the kittens. I can’t imagine a better form of meditating then slowly stroking a purring momma and new little balls of fuzzy life as the peaceful purrs wash over me, the greenhouse breathing scents of basil, oregano, and a dozen other herbs blending with the smell of hay and mulch under my knees. Even the spiders seem less threatening in the face of new life (from 100% terrifying to 99%).

But even amongst all this beauty, I’ve been wreaked of late. I left a very stable, comfortable, (reasonably) normal existence and went off into the world in a conversion van, thinking that I was all grown up and had a few things figured out and within a month I was proven flat wrong and well on my way to being wreaked. And it has continued everyday since, until recently, I’ve been having trouble even looking in the mirror. I can’t tell who I am anymore, and nothing quite “fits” right. Which is immensely frustrating when one has spent as much time working on one’s self development as I have. But the strange thing is, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. This throwing myself into this life has opened up to such extremes, to so many new thoughts and paths, to challenging aspects of my thoughts and beliefs I never even realized I had until these moments has been deranged and wonderful. I have been ranting, crying, depressed, wondering and waxing wit at the myriad aspects of life that are often easily overlooked in favor of the bright, the new, the I-prefer-to-see-this-it’s-easier-on-my-conscience ostrich head in the sand approach to life. This view is vicious, dreary, work-weary, panic attack inducing freedom. I though I was going mad until I read the “Misfit Manifesto” – a free download by Jeff Goins (http://goinswriter.com/) and realized I was not the only one going through this, and why I was beginning to view the world this way. It saved my sanity, just knowing that there was a word for it, and it was wonderful. All of a sudden, it didn’t seem like such a burden to see all of the pain, damage and madness of the world. It was something I could work to make better, if only in my own little ways. The hardest part is the constant feeling of limbo, how everyday requires some new adjustment to new information about the truth of the world. I’m in mourning and being reborn a dozen times a day just to live with truth and integrity. It’s exhausting. But it must be done, because if not me, then who? And so as some explanation for why I choose to live this way, I pet kittens, and hang clothes on a line, and treat asthma attacks with saline, and read and share my experiences on here, the little bits I can do to simply not play the game anymore. Be the Change.

Speaking of clothes lines, one interesting aspect of the camp we are staying at is their 1942 washing machine. It is, to put it lightly, significantly more interactive than modern washing machines. But on the upside, it’s very retro cool. It uses only about 10 gallons of water for each cycle, and there is a roller contraption that squeezes all the water out of the clothes, making the work weirdly fun. It took three loads and the camp is draped in a hundred clothes (Yay Gypsies!!) but it’s all finished. Having a boyfriend who glories in motors, forges, mud and all other manner of how-on-earth-did-you-manage-to-do- that- to- your- clothes combined with my desire to eliminate toxins from my life has led me to get creative about laundry detergent. After months of trying out combinations I came up with a simple and effective recipe that works as both all-purpose cleaner and laundry detergent, I’ve even used it to wash dishes when we’ve been out of water.

All-purpose cleaner and Laundry Detergent

– 1 to 1 ration of vinegar to water

– 15 drops of each lavender and tea tree essential oil

– Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap about 1 tbsp to 1 cup of water/vinegar mix

– add either orange/lemon essential oil, or just add the rinds from lemons/oranges used in cooking(which is what I do)

 

Tips of the Week!

Standard

– There is free all day parking in the far parking lot of the downtown park in Ashland (I don’t think I could have said park more in that sentence if I’d tried)

– Three beans, lentils and three grains cooked together in a pot is the food equivalent of taking a vitamin, and does a good job for easing PMS cramps as it’s very high in iron

– Yogurt, topically applied, will help yeast infections

– I want to live in the Eugene Library, truly, it’s that amazing- not really a tip, just worth saying

– A blend of citrus oil, vinegar and water works great as a dish detergent, no extra water required. Just spray on, let sit for a moment and wipe with a rag

-Winco is the King of Grocery stores, also in Eugene (I kind of love this place)

– Thyme tea can kick most cold/flu bugs