real

I’m going to get real here for just a moment.

I’m doing a lot of things to change my behavior, my attitude, my perceptions and just generally remake my life since my old one seemed to literally break apart.

I’m trying to learn to meditate: to become more mindful. I’m using the Mindspace app. It might actually have started to make sense today. Sort of. In a vague and hazy way. I think it might be helping.

I don’t really know if it is or not. I tend to be a “little” critical of myself. (In real terms, I think I’m an idiot most of the time). That’s not an affirming statement, I know. I’m a work in progress.

I wrote this kind of poetic and insightful set of words yesterday about mindfulness.

I’m finding that practice is neither poetic or insightful.

I’m supposed to be “noting” and identifying thoughts and feelings and gently move them – as with a feather on the rim of a crystal glass – clearing my head to refocus on my breathing.

Hmmm.

My head is so busy this seems to be an extremely impractical way to go about things. I keep getting an image of myself chucking an angry chicken in the midst of all those thoughts. At the very least, a feather duster to clear things out.

I’ve made enough progress to know that this would be a bad idea

I’ll keep trying the feather.

thoughts

“Mindfulness is a pause – the space between stimulus and response:

that’s where choice lies.” – Tara Brach

Today I will show up with intention.

To let go of what I struggled with yesterday…

To dwell in the possibility of right now.

To not reach into tomorrow.

Today I will practice being mindful.

To allow a pause between the fear and my reaction.

To observe without judgement.

And to comfort myself with grace.

try again

Sigh…

So today I choose to begin again.

I was not “all healed” yesterday.

I didn’t get everything “right”.

I messed up – a lot.

This mindfulness stuff is hard.

Feeling the emotions without reacting to them doesn’t even really make sense – yet.

I will try again today.

And maybe I will do just a little bit better.

Maybe it will make a little more sense today.

I’m searching for that “aha” moment.

There’s so many feelings going on right now.

It’s a lot “out of control”

One day at a time unless that seems like too long…

I’ve typed up a “recovery daily checklist”.

Meditations, reading assignments, journaling, exercise, art time…

and (sigh) therapy today…

jon tyson – unsplash

the end

This post has been weeks in the writing – written, deleted, pondered, re-written, stared at, ignored and left to sit in forlorn solitude.

Why?

What is the importance of a single blog post written by an obscure blogger sitting in a manufactured home in the middle of nowhere?

I have no answer to those questions or many other questions that I find myself asking lately.

I did find this quote by Flannery O’Connor:

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”

Maybe that’s the answer.

Or maybe not…

Maybe the answer doesn’t matter.

I’m kind of liking this quote by Joan Didion:

“We tell stories in order to live.”

Maybe I should just quit worrying about the why.

My life feels hard right now.

It would be more truthful to say that my life has always been hard and I have decided to admit it and do something about it.

A little over a month ago I hit the end.

I no longer had the ability to go on.

I was done.

And somehow the end turned into a beginning.

I asked for help.

It has not been fun.

Quite frankly, it has been a shit show.

I have failed spectacularly over and over again.

I’m still not sure that there is any importance in a single blog post written by an obscure blogger sitting in a manufactured home in the middle of nowhere but I’m trying to figure that out.

And I’m told that the journey over the past month has been the easy part. Now the real work begins.

That is terrifying.

I’m going to keep going anyway.

“Owning our story can be hard, but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it.” -Brene Brown

A little over a month ago, I hit what I’m choosing to call the end.

57

57 degrees today and sunny. Woohoo! Still quite a bit of snow and ice on the ground, but it is melting nicely.

Our water is on and we didn’t have any damage to the pipes.

The septic has thawed and working just fine.

I am definitely not moving any farther north. This was not my idea of a good time.

I celebrated today by ordering more seeds for the spring garden. We had just started our greenhouse at the onset of the first winter storm. It did well, stayed warm enough not to build up a significant amount of snow even without heat. Our seedlings stayed in the kitchen since we didn’t have time to finish the construction.

The chickens are much happier now that things are warming. Our coop is still a work in progress and has been designed for 100 degree summer days. There are things I would do differently as we finish it if I anticipated much of this type of weather. We didn’t have enough plastic to wrap the trampoline cover we used for the front and back. A heat lamp with concrete block pavers underneath it held enough heat when combined to the deep bedding method we’ve been doing. All our compostable stuff and kitchen scraps go in there so they do the work for us.

I’ve been learning as much as I can about permaculture through books and videos on You Tube. I can really appreciate the differences in northern and extreme Southern gardening now. Our rock-lined paths are pretty dangerous obstacles under layers of snow and ice. Heavy mulching seems to help things thaw faster so that was helpful. It’s also helping to absorb the water as everything thaws. The “waterways” I’ve been digging to help save water and divert it to our raised beds don’t really work for snow and ice the way they do for our heavy but infrequent rains.

We are learning as we go and re-purposing and salvaging as many materials as we can. It’s sometimes hard to watch the You Tube videos and see the beautiful gardens. We are just starting out and our set-up seems a little junky. I like the idea of making do with as much as we can without purchasing, but sometimes I wish it looked a little better. Baby steps, right?

Now that the water is on, it’s time to go catch up on dishes and laundry! I hope that where ever you are you are warm and enjoying fresh, running water. Both are a precious gift…

Peace.

adventure

I am thinking of the past week (and the coming week) as an adventure.

It seems a better way to think.

Not a disaster to be survived.

An adventure to be lived.

I’ll admit that we didn’t have it so bad. We had power and heat most of the time. Without that I’m sure I would have a different take on things.

We haven’t turned our water back on yet because our septic is not working at all. We have tried every trick we know of to clear the line. We’ve now concluded that it can only be a blockage caused by the freeze.

We’ll get through this. The lines are in the warming sun. The snow and ice are melting quickly. I’m collecting water as it falls off the roof just in case.

I’ve learned a lot of things. Today I learned not to stand under an oak during the thawing process. Those ice chunks hurt worse than an acorn tossed by an angry squirrel.

And in all my decluttering, the only thing that I got rid of that I wish I had kept just “in case” is a funnel. A funnel to be used for pouring boiled and cooled water from a pot on the stove into a container.

I’m glad I kept the extra towels I had been thinking I didn’t need. They came in handy for covering windows, blocking drafts and drying the floor when we came in with wet boots and clothing…and when we spilled water trying to pour it without a funnel.

The minor “prepping” that I did – mainly a stash of food – came in handy when not going to the store regularly. We had thought about not needing to stock the pantry so well since my daughter works in a store that sells food and we could easily get what we need on a daily basis.

There was the minor inconvenience of only having two solid winter outfits. I had minimalized my wardrobe because I have a washer/dryer and we don’t really have serious cold weather here. I have been wearing both outfits at the same time since this started over a week ago. Thankful for Febreeze.

Even though I had to haul out water to the chickens every two hours while the sun was up, I am grateful for our chickens. They were faithful layers until yesterday when they went on strike. They are loudly expressing their displeasure with the whole situation and I’m afraid they would attempt to fly south if I let them loose to roam. The coyotes are also unhappy about this whole situation and are searching out an unfrozen meal. The chickens are staying cooped up.

Please stay in prayer or positive thoughts or whatever it is you do for the people in Texas. Although we are thawing, this is not over. Pipes are bursting, there is a very real shortage of food and water, hourly wage folks haven’t been able to work and there are huge expenses looming in the coming weeks. Infrastructure, buildings, homes and more are damaged. The hard part is just starting.

I am encouraged by all the good news that I am hearing. Neighbors and strangers are helping each other. There are good stories being lived and told and most of them are not to be found in the news.

27

daily art journal page 2/17/2021

It is 27 degrees outside as I write this morning.

Sixty-five degrees inside. I’m getting ready to lower the thermostat. We had it at 62 as we slept, but raised it for just a bit to get the temperature up a little in case we lose power. We are trying to minimize our electric usage just in case it really does help the grid.

It’s a veritable heat wave. Right now the forecast calls for it to get up to 31 at 2. I might drop down to 2 layers of clothing inside if this warming trend continues.

Last night’s winter storm brought more ice. My son tried to make it into work. In an hour he covered the distance that would normally take 10ish minutes. He turned back and came home when he slid into the guardrail on the first bridge over the San Gabriel River.

It just started snowing.

Winter storm #3 comes through tonight. The forecast is for a “wintry mix”. I’ve given up trying to anticipate what’s next.

My husband has to go into work tonight. He’s supposed to be there at 8. The current plan is for him to go in during the “warm spell” at 3. There will probably still be ice, but the roads will be in better shape. He’s taking a “go” bag just in case he can’t come home.

None of this is a complaint. We have been so blessed. Our power has only been out briefly. We have stayed warmish. We have plenty of food.

I do wish that I owned a pair of gloves and a real winter coat and shoes that weren’t geared towards keeping my feet from sweating. I’m doing ok.

Socks works pretty well as gloves in the short term.

I’ve rigged a foot warming “heater” from some candles and a flower pot.

I’m using icicles for my iced tea. (I know – iced tea? I must be a true Southerner)

I am praying for the thousands of people that still don’t have electricity days into this disaster. For those who are alone and isolated with no phone or internet service. For those without water. For those running out of food. For the lineman and all others who are working outside to keep things running. For stores and their employees who are trying to keep the doors open and the shelves stocked as best they can. For frustrated people who just want to have basic necessities that we take for granted until something like this happens…

I’m thankful for the local fireman my son saw hand-shoveling snow off of our bridges to try and make the roads passable. (I’ve heard that there is no more salt/sand in our county to treat roads) For facebook which is allowing us to share information and resources. For neighbors checking in and opening their doors to share what they have. And so much more…

I’m wondering what changes I will personally make to be better prepared for the unexpected….and how much more “unexpected” shit is going to happen. I

A young friend recently said that she is tired of living in “historical” events. She has relocated to her third household to be able to have electricity. She’s spent the last three nights sleeping with her tortoise to keep him warm.

I think that we are all growing weary and I hope that we can become better at working together to solve our problems instead of spending so much energy pointing fingers and placing blame.

Our power is flickering…

Peace.

want

The definition of want according to Merriam-Webster:

intransitive verb

1: to be needy or destitute

2: to have or feel need

3: to be necessary or needed

4: to desire to come, go, or be

transitive verb

1: to fail to possess especially in customary or required amount 

2a: to have a strong desire for b: to have an inclination to 

3a: to have need of  b: to suffer from the lack of

While thinking about this post, I found that I was using the word “want” a lot so I looked up the meaning. It’s a pretty big word to be only 4 letters.

Having the definition in front of me clarified my thinking about “want” versus “need”.

I am in Central Texas.

I want it to be warmer. It is 14 degrees right now…up from 0 when I woke up this morning…I feel a need.

I still have electricity and heat! So many of my neighbors, friends, family and fellow Texans do not and have not had electricity for hours and some for days…I am not needy.

We don’t have running water (by choice). We turned it off at the road to try and protect our plumbing (we live in a manufactured home and there is no way to protect pipes in single digit temperatures). We filled our tub and containers with water. It is inconvenient, but we have what we need.

Melting snow to flush toilets and water chickens

I have a strong desire to be done with this winter event and to bask in the sunshine…

to not have on 3 layers of clothing in the house…

to quit going out every two hours to provide my chickens with unfrozen water…

to share my heat with those who don’t have it…

I want this to be over and for the next storm to not be heading our way.

I am “failing to possess especially in customary amounts”. 

I “have a strong desire for” life to return to normal.

I do not actually “suffer from the lack of” anything right now.

We are doing ok.

It’s hard to believe that this is real life…

Peace…