Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My last night in San Francisco and was I ever tempted

to stop at a corner store and buy a nice bunch of greens, maybe a piece of fruit, maybe a container of creamy Strauss whole milk yogurt and then the little (or big) voice said "Make It Work" - if I am seriously going to stick to a budget of $1,000 a month - it is not going to cut it, the stopping and buying anything on a whim. Hmm "Make it Work" an hour later: brown rice, mustard stems sauteed in combo olive oil/butter, smothered with a cup of strawberries I had slightly mashed and frozen months ago (defrosted of course). The wierd thing was the combo actually worked and I got more practice at changing my ideas of what constitutes a good meal AND no money left my hands today.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Am I Confusing Myself with a Pioneer Women?

Driving down the 6 1/2 mile dirt road (should say dirt when it's dry, but in storm conditions, more or less a slippery slope of clay mud with huge puddles which when hit, cover the truck in mud) and (should say passenger, not driver - no way do I feel comfortable driving on a necessary four-wheel drive road under those treacherous conditions - okay, maybe slight exaggeration and road conditions but not my comfort level). My BF and I are going to the cabin for the holiday weekend with a list of projects and bags of food. In less than a week, on the last day of this year to be exact, I will be living at this cabin in the woods, off the grid and without a vehicle. There is a land line and I do plan to get some sort of dial-up internet, no way do I want to pay a couple hundred bucks a month for satellite. One of the projects at the top of my list is learning how to start the generator and charge the batteries - I have relied on (or depended on) my BF's generous share of tasking (word?) over the four years of working on this property.

For the next two days my mind was jumping from "What was I thinking?" "Yes, this is not exactly a seller's market, but does not mean there would not be the perfect buyer for this property" to "Actually, I am a city person and I can always go to the country for hikes" but under all these doubts is the familiar feeling: FEAR. By the third day I started to remember all the reasons for this experiment (subject of different post) and all the things I wanted to do. Some of the things, in no particular order:

1. Read
2. Write
3. Dip in cold river daily
4. Hike
5. Grow food and raise chickens
6. Work out with weights
7. Re-kindle yoga practice
8. Meditate
9. Find a spot in woods and sit daily - a little different from meditation
10. All food prepared from scratch (currently and pre-sabbatical 95%)
11. Here's a crazy one: spend less than $1,000 a month
12. Learn basic carpentry and electrical skills

And on the third day I learned how to charge the batteries - of course it was not that complicated - I had done such a good job of turning my electrical ignorance into a road block of feeling at ease with my decision to exchange city for country living (length of time TBD). Amazing how much of my fear abated by the end of weekend as I remembered the main reason for this life change: TO GIVE MYSELF THE GIFT OF TIME.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


And so far I have done a good job of avoiding shopping for presents - really, I am trying to keep it to donations through Heifer International in loved ones' names. But . . . I still feel the need to get a couple of things for others to open - This is not easy!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Luxury Problems

I feel a little silly writing about decluttering, getting rid of anything non-essential, the desire to fit all my belonging in a couple of trunks, choosing to live off the grid when so many on this planet do not have the choice - but that's the way it is . . . I am not apologizing, just stating it's kind of kooky. But here I am, a year later, still getting rid of stuff - now it's the stuff with more sentimentality attached: the cashmere coat given to me by my daughter's father - thank god she can appreciate the great stuff I am giving here (unless it turns into a burden), the design books I love to look at every once in awhile, the beautiful shoes - ouch, those might be the last to go. When I did my last go round of jewelry and scarves I took photos - of course have not looked at pictures since that time. Current criteria: if not used in the past six months, time to pass on - probably Goodwill or Salvation Army. I like the idea of renting clothes - wear one outfit for months and pass it on - will start asking friends to see if anyone in on yet another one of my ideas.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Solstice

12.17.08 was the first day of freedom from selling my time. Approximately one year's worth of planning for this exact day, which coincided with my birthday. How did I get from having zero in a retirement fund to, well maybe not retirement exactly, but a sabbatical of at least a year? Oops, I do not have a retirement fund (pimp number one in my book), but I do have another type of savings account. Better yet, I have my first Monday morning in ages where I will not have to sit at a desk. Yes!