Monthly Archives: July 2012

Homesteading…Gypsy Style :)

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Life changes. People either learn to adapt to their environment, or they rebel against their surroundings.
I’ve spoken before about living the “American Dream.”  I believe it was my first blog post.  During that time, I thought I had “made it” and was as happy as I could be.  At one point in my life, I was completely consumed with adapting to the current society’s expectations of “normal.” I was my own boss, running my own business, making some serious money as a photographer.  We had a house and a car and the option to go on massive shopping sprees ( because we had money!).  I spent this money on hair appointments, photography gear, bills, eating out and thrift store shopping. As I look back on this time in my life, I wonder if I frequented those thrift stores not only for “treasure hunting” and finding a good deal on stuff at a cheap price.  Did I also venture into these thrift stores because I felt like there was something true, something normal, some basic sort of being that a thrift store embodied.  A sense of doing what was right?  Saving “junk” from the landfill?  Helping others?
Now, I can see that the only part of my life (at that time) that is true for me now…that I still feel is authentic and a correct move toward the future, is venturing into those thrift stores.  Of course, money is quite scarce these days since I gave up my “Super Master Photographer” identity.  My husband and I still check them out every now and again…usually when we are searching for one particular item, though.  These days, we have very little money, so we “thrift” through bartering.  We trade stuff that we have excess of for stuff that someone else doesn’t want, or also has excess of.

This “American Dream” society just seems wrong to me.  It seems as if it is normal to “live” in a way that is just not practical.  Ever since the Industrial Revolution (once gasoline and electricity were introduced) we have began living in a way that humans have never lived before.  Don’t get me wrong…it sure has been nice living as a human being in the twentieth century.  I get to shower inside.  I can turn an oven on with the turn of a knob.  I don’t have to scrub my clothes on a washboard or hang them on a clothesline if I want to. I accept that humans have survived as a species for loooong before we had showers and ovens.  The critic might state that “we survived without petroleum and electricity before…and we survived.  We are resilient.  We can bounce back from whatever is thrown at us.”  But…really….can we?  We are pretty spoiled.  I think that people would flip out if they didn’t have their cell phones these days…not to mention no food!  So, when I quote “live” at the start of this paragraph, I am speaking of the actual state of breathing and enjoying the world around you.  The simple act of living.  Why can’t we just live with our families and grow food and cultivate knowledge from our elders without overworking and under nourishing ourselves?  Money.  Gotta have it?  Do we really GOTTA have it THAT bad?  Just something that I’ve been thinking about lately.

I don’t really hear a response from those who are involved in my life as to what they really think about how I see the world and how my family lives.  I do, however, feel like I can read people’s emotions…and that reading of emotions tells me that they think I am outlandishly, out of this world, abnormal.  A sort of “dooms-day-er” you might say.  They might tell me that they think I’m silly for thinking that one day we might not have electricity or petroleum products.  They might assure me by saying that I should “Enjoy it while we’ve got it” and not worry about the future.  I should just keep filling up my car with gas and sit in my air conditioned house happily and remain carefree.  Why would I want to concern myself with the “what-ifs” of our future?  Why stress about things that aren’t happening? There is one simple answer:  I have a Son.

Ayden Zen is the reason why my husband and I do a lot of things that most people view as abnormal.  We waste our time gardening when we should really just go buy cheap vegetables at the grocery store.  We own chickens…but why do we waste our time with those nasty things when we could just buy free range organic eggs in a styrofoam (petroleum product) egg carton from a farm that has “happy chickens” who emit eggs high in Omega 3’s? We store food and collect rain water.  We drink raw milk.  We use “We can believe it’s real butter”.

But…we are crazy hippies.

Oh…add in that neither one of us have a 9 to 5 Job, health insurance OR life insurance…and we are just irresponsible crazy hippies.

I feel that there are things that we see that others can’t.  Maybe they could if they could get past classifying us as lazy good-for-nothings.  My husband and I are both present in our son’s life…almost each and every day.  We don’t stick him in a daycare for 9 hours a day, come home in time to feed him a frozen meal and put him to bed. I truly hope that will NEVER happen, actually.

We don’t get much support here in our little town of Boiling Springs, SC.  We have found a few ‘good ole’ boys’ who know how to farm, but no one quite like us.  We are working on building up this little community we dream of by creating foods to sell (sauerkraut, vegetables, mead, hard apple cider, hot sauce, bread, eggs).  We have the lifelong hoard of Wendy that we hope to sell at yard sales and weekend swap meets.  Once we pay off my husband’s truck (only $3500 away!) we will be able to pay ALL of our bills by the check that I receive once a week for hosting and updating a businesses’ Facebook page.  Once that truck is paid off…our bills (ALL OF THEM) can be handled by an income of $100 a week.

Our goal for this family is to live simply and authentically.  I cannot express to you how HAPPY life has become for me in the past 5 months.  I catch myself wallowing in my own bliss all of the time.  I gaze at my son and squeeze his chunky cheeks and tickle him so that I can hear his laughter.  I bat my eyes at my husband and tell him how much I love him.  I thank my Aunt for all she has done for us by welcoming us into her home…and almost start crying tears of joy while speaking to her.

Outside of Aunt Brenda, our family ties are very thin here, sadly.  We moved here to be closer to my side of the family…who, unfortunately, has only been a problem for us.  This February we decided to move into my Aunt Brenda’s home. She offered for us to come live with her after the death of her husband of 19 years.  He had Parkinson’s disease and my Aunt promised him that she would take care of him until he passed away.  She kept him out of a nursing home and took care of him in their home.  He died here, as promised.  We decided to take her up on her offer, and quickly found a renter for our house in Rock Hill, SC.  We figured that we could form a mutual symbiotic relationship by moving here.  We could take care of Aunt Brenda as she aged and needed help getting older…and she could provide a shelter for our family.  It has worked extremely well so far! 🙂

But oh…little did we know when we moved here that there would be unseen struggles.  From MY FAMILY.  Ugh…. I am even sickened to call them that.  I am embarrassed of their backwoods crazy. Seriously.  I wonder about their mental capacity.  The short version is:  Aunt Brenda is a giver and my Mother’s brother (other uncle), his wife and their daughter are takers.  They have been mooching up her money  for years.  So, when we came rollin’ in to live with her, they used their crazy-hick-senses and mongoloid actions to try to scare us off.  It didn’t work.  They see us as the newest moochers in Aunt Brenda’s life…but the truth is:  She begged for us to come live with her.  We have a great thing going her in our little combined household that my own FAMILY can’t respect.

And oh, OH yes…now my own MOTHER is on board with this craziness.  She recently asked me when my husband was going to go back to work.  A few days later, she told me that soon one of us (myself or my husband) needed to get a “REAL JOB.”  Nice.  Thanks for that support there, Mother. Here we are trying to build a sustainable future for our family by preparing ourselves for the unseen…but it more important that we stick Ayden in daycare and go work our butts off for money so that we can go buy junk and have money in the bank.  Money in the bank, with a son whose parents are absent and miserable.  Yeah, that sounds like something that might make Mother proud.

*SIGH*

Anyhow, once again, I write this blog and tell these stories in a shortened version.  My sister is a family exception…but she is young and concerned more with her friends and her job than with her mostly absent older sister (we are 10 years apart in age–I was in college and trying to become an adult while she was in middle school and high school).

I write this blog as sort of a personal online journal (an oxymoron, really).  I write mostly for myself. I  have been doing LOTS of self exploration lately.  I also write in hopes that if someone happens to peruse through my neck of the blog-o-sphere, my story might intrigue, inspire…or allow them to relate.

So, if you’re reading…I hope you enjoy my journey.  I also hope that you’ll put some thought into the following questions:

*  How would you and your family adapt to a world with no electricity or running water?

* How would this world change if we had no petroleum products?  If they ceased to exist or were no longer created? (Gasoline, Plastic, etc.)

* Do you think you could survive?

A few things to think about:

– Most grocery stores only have a three day supply of food.  What would the typical American  do if all grocery stores were no longer supplied with food?

–  The average length that a food item travels in the U.S. to get to your supermarket is 2,000 miles.

–  Our infrastructure is designed around vehicles.  What if those food transport vehicles had no fuel?  How would you obtain the goods you need without being able to drive your car to gather them?

I suggest that you start thinking locally, plant a garden, and build a community of like-minded folks to surround yourself “Just in case” the proverbial feces hits the fan.  Won’t you feel silly and become regretful if you didn’t take the the necessary steps to protect your family’s well being?

It is okay if you choose to pass these questions off as the ramblings of a lazy, good for nothing hippy.  You are your own person, you make your own decisions.  I always say that life would be boring if we all thought the same and liked the  same things.  I also say…natural selection is a bitch, and so is karma 😉
“Be part of the future, or be left behind” is a quote from one of our favorite movies, “Rango”.  Interpret it as you will.

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The simple Gene churn

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Today, Kings of Convenience – “Love Is No Big Truth” spoke to me.

Not the song in full, really…but more the lyric, “Driven by our genes
We are simple selfish beings”

Here’s a link to it:

Kinda made me think about some of the struggles that I have been dealing with concerning my upbringing, and how I feel as if some of those issues that I have are due to my genes. Wouldn’t it be easy to just pass it off as that? That would be lazy.

Self discovery is hard work, and you can’t use the excuse “I can’t help it, it’s in my genes” while going through the process. I think that a lot of people never question their upbringing…and are just lazy enough to never analyze the reasoning behind some of the decisions their parents may have made. Or maybe that’s just a common thing in the South…

anyhow,
here are the lyrics in full, along with listener interpretations. I’m going to skip analyzing the song to try to figure out the artist’s thoughts and intentions while creating the lyrics. For now, I just want to appreciate it as a good song, and let my noggin churn a little with that whole “gene” idea 🙂

http://www.songmeanings.net/songs/view/3530822107858529382/#MGodxB7evToxBhF6.99

Oh, and while I listen to the song again, I’ll also ponder why I was singing the lyric “Poisoned by our dreams we are simple selfish beings” after my shower while brushing my teeth tonight.

Clever little thoughts…fun little challenges for the mind. Why do I think the way I do about things? Some times it’s not as easy to jump right into figuring out those deep inner meanings.

The Tale of Of and Soulmate7poet

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The pocketbook "Of" notebook

The pocketbook “Of” notebook

Sometimes, you allow yourself to shortchange yourself. For me, I feel as if I was at a place in my life where I was understanding of the world, open to all possibilities, more in touch with who I was and how I felt about things…my emotions, my passion for life, my pull for love.

I was often nose deep in a spiral bound five subject notebook. Scribbled with random thoughts and un-rhyming poems. Pictures cut from magazines, copied from books (on the copying machine!) and quotes jotted down from lines in movies.

I recently came across this notebook…at a time when I was surely MEANT to find it.

The green 5 subject spiral bound notebook

THE 5 subject notebook

Inside the notebook’s cover

One of the subject pockets

I have been many things in my life. The Wendy who felt the need to succeed financially, to make my parents proud sort of overtook the Wendy who was on the path to happiness through enlightenment.

I’m not speaking of a sort of enlightenment that is religious. Spiritual, maybe…but not religious.

I’m talking of the level of understanding of MYSELF that I seemed to have a firm grasp on all through the last few years of high school, and the first two years of college.

I was constantly an introvert, drowned with grand ideas of passion and love from the one I deemed “my soulmate.”

Now, I have found that love that I dreamed of. That I wrote about and stared at flickering candles at night beside me, zoning out into a perfect little happy world of love and emotion, with no fears or desires. All of my needs were met through one person in my poetry. I often wondered while writing this prose, these random, quirky notes to myself….”Is a love like this possible?”

I remember watching the movie, “What Dreams may Come” in college. I wept. I remember opening that teal green 5 subject notebook, putting pen to paper, and POURING my energy and emotions onto the page. This memory is still vivid for me. How could someone love another SO much? Why doesn’t anyone love ME like that??? These are some of the thoughts and transgressions that went through my head during that growing moment in my youth.

Why did I stop writing these poems? These little paragraphs of thoughts?

What happened in my life to cause the notebook to be less important to me?

Thankfully, I have hung onto it for all of these years.

Today, I flipped through it. Memories of EXACTLY how I felt while writing some of the text in the notebooks started to curl out of the page and grab me. Others…I don’t remember where I was or who I was writing about. Some were coded with the initials of the one who inspired the little poetic rant. “BP, JM, JS, CP, TP, DD, JV…..” Yes, I remember the guy that all of those initials stood for. Amazing! After over ten years…I still remember my teenage and early 20’s code-age.

Inside the pockets of the five subject notebook, I found AOL Instant Messenger messages that I had shared with the male poets and writers in my life.  I seemed to collect them.  One was stationed in the Navy, I believe.  Another, I pictured as a scrawny little kid with glasses and blue eyes (my dream guy at the time).  We never met in person.  We used to AOL message each other on a regular basis, until, eventually, the technology was gone, surpassed, and lost.  We seemed to have agreed that our time spent together was meant for the AOL days.  Not for the Email, forum or Facebook days.  These people entered and exited my life and I didn’t feel a loss…until I came across their words.  There were a few, however, who I exchanged emails with after the crash of the AOL fail.  We would email less…and less…..and then no more.

This afternoon, I felt this overwhelming urge to pull out those notebooks and write.  It sparked the typing of this blog.  Not a green spiral bound notebook anymore, but still full of subjects.

I should publicly add here…I am in love with my husband on so many levels that it is hard for me to describe in words.  We have grown together.  We compliment each other.  We can feed off of each other’s energy (good or bad).  We have the same dreams, hopes, aspirations and fears.  We are alike, but not the same.  We are soulmates.

This blog is not meant to come across as a cry for the past virtual men in my life.  I don’t feel a loss over past chances at romance, or anything like that.  This blog is more a cry for the Wendy that these virtual men knew.  The one who would sit for hours and “chat” about our anguish in not being able to find our own soulmates.  We knew, you see…that we were not each others soulmate.  We knew that we would never become anything other than Sqrldanca or benagain.  Nothing more than a screen name popping up in blue or red.

Blue and Red

We respected each others need for lying our thoughts and feelings out there to a member of the opposite sex, without flirting or trying to “hook up” or make anything come out of our relationships other than just a chat among a man and a woman.  I find this fairly uncommon now.

Rich, the Navy boy…an email.

It’s amazing to look back on this notebook, these people that I interacted with in my youth…and still feel respect for them.  I still value their interaction because we didn’t meet and be in each others physical presence.  We knew, somehow, that it would make things different.  We might actually be attracted to each other, and then our friendly relationship of sharing TRUE thoughts and emotions would cause us to act differently toward one another until eventually we would not feel comfortable feeling true in our words any longer.  We would have to clear the air of that sexual tension, and it would be awkward, and we were both not willing to deal with that.  We were all on the path of our own self exploration.

This path is the one that I have missed.  Finally, though…I have found the trail that leads back to it.

 

The description of a past me

The Art Artist is present.

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First of all… watch this video (link below):

 The Artist is present

Today I was doing a little more exploration de Wendy. I thought…”you should explore your “artistic” side. What is “Art” to you? What sorts of art do you appreciate the most? enjoy the most?”

I just watched a video online with two women sitting across the table from each other. I kept waiting for one or the

other to move. For one to speak…for something to begin. Soon, your inner impatience begins to seep to the surface and

you think…”what the heck”…are they making facial gestures that I can’t see from far away? Am I just virtually standing

in the wrong area to “get” this?….then you can see the little red bar running across the bottom of the mini version of

the video. It is not even HALF way finished and they haven’t moved? Should I keep watching? What is going to happen?

What if there is something very intense at the end that I don’t want to miss?—-what if…they are looking in the mirror?

Yes. That is it. They are just looking in the mirror at each other and at the end of their skit they will stand up at the

same time, wipe their lips with their finger in the ‘mirror’, fluff their hair (still at the same time, unanimously) and

grab their imaginary purse and walk away from the mirror.
But then, you begin to look deeper. The woman on the left is younger than the one on the right. They are both wearing

black. One a long gown, one a short gown…. your eyes keep searching for similarities. Are they the same person.

That is what I see. It is the same person looking at themselves in the mirror. The younger version of the woman is on the

left, her elder version of herself on the right. This…is art that makes you think.
It is the sort of art that allows you to inner analyze yourself. Why did you get so damned impatient? Why did you react

like a 13 year old and think “booooreinnnnng” near the middle of the video and almost click off of it?
Now that is art for the mind.

In the background speech of the YouTube video, I think I heard someone say “six hours.” Does this mean that these women

acted this simple sitting motion, viewed as thoughtless if in short segments, for six hours before this video was made?

Think of how your mind could spin and open up to watch something like this for so long. Wild and intense, I’d say. I bet

there were bystanders who soon began weeping from watching the art performance. I picture them sitting against the wall

with one knee up and their hand over their face. A pouted lip of regret, self loathing, confusion, guilt…all pouring from

their curled lip as they begin to cry and shake their head…wipe their hand across their face…understand

themselves…and see it and feel it as cleansing and beautiful. That is intense. More intense than any moving scene could

create for your mind. It is an empty canvas of living art…designed to allow you to use them as a vessel for your own
creation and self exploration.

—–

The above was how I saw this video for the first time.  I read a few comments under the YouTube video…not too many, but enough to see that one guy declared the video to be a joke.  He then continued on to say how he doesn’t know how us simple minded folks who didn’t understand the “joke” functioned.  The tone, i had to read…so I may have totally mis-interpreted his smart-assery…

Then, as I read on, I saw that the actual artist of the art, the Art Artist created “displays” in which she sat at a table for 10 hours at a time.  Just sitting.  No getting up to pee…no wiping her brow if she began sweating.  No brushing that stray hair from her face when the breeze of one of the passerby-ers swept by.  Had she ever sneezed?  Was this her way of showing you how your face changes throughout the day if you do not touch it?  How everyday life can put strands out your hair out of place…how the outside world can affect you…even if you are not moving in it.

This video was what I was meant to see tonight.  Very interesting.

Apparently the answer to my question, “what forms of art do you appreciate” is, “The kind which allows me to explore my inner being.  The kind that makes me Wendy.  The art of the creation of this person I have become.