Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Mid Life Mid Year Thoughts

To blog or not to blog? The answer for now, obviously, is Yes. As I am not up for FaceBook, this blog will have to serve as my electronic postcard: GREETINGS FROM CABIN IN NOYO RIVER CANYON! From Paris to Ohio to Santa Barbara to cabin - here until Grand Canyon River trip beginning on Labor Day. It's just me + 8 chicks + garden (s) + stack of books + walks + endless chores.

Tomorrow marks my six month anniversary of freedom from 8 to 5 job. Just about one year since I began the decluttering process, giving clothes, jewelery, and handbags to my daughter. Just about ready to do a clothes & stuff inventory.

My newest revelation: How difficult it is for me to settle down and commit - no matter if it is a Person/Place or Thing. (Okay, have always known about squirminess with People). My desire is to wrestle with this "thing" and be able to make this cabin my home for now. When I look back at how much energy, time and money I have frittered away because I was incapable of settling down - ouch! Granted, there are mighty deep scars that caused the running.

What would it be like to say: I am comfortable ENOUGH; I am going to do my best to make this a Home. Of course my mind goes to worst case scenario: what if you do all this work, get attached and then a forest fire rages through destroying it all. The trickster mind can always be quieted - and what if . . . I would do it again.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

One of the Thousands of Statues/Sculptures in Paris

What Was I Doing Before Travelling?

I am back now at the cabin - bodily for a couple of days, mentally not yet.

Woke up in middle of night worried about the future - along the lines: What were you thinking? And why does it seem to be a good idea to sell the cabin and give away most of your belongings?

Of course there is no logical answer, only that it seems important to be prepared for something or some thing - And I do have faith/vision that the reasons will be revealed. God, I sound like a mystic in training.

Back to painting the bathroom.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Why I Heart Paris FINALLY!

God am I slow - it took me three visits to Paris in five years to get it: PARIS IS BEAUTIFUL! To think I did not want to go, did not feel up to being in a bustling city - so much for my abilities to predict the future. But now that I am back in the cabin, part of me still remains in Paris.

I was happiest wondering around, watching the people, taking in the architecture, and of course sitting in cafes sipping coffee, accompanied by a baked goodie - which I would never (almost) allow myself here. What's not to like?

Don't know if I believe in ghosts or not, but there is something left in the atmosphere by the presence of the great artists, writers, thinkers. Picasso's studio of many years, where he painted Guernica, is on the same block as the apartment! Every block seems to have historical significance. Yes, there are the magnificent cathedrals, statues, public spaces, but I am in love with the day-to-day way of living:

Number One: Manners

Which translates to having a connection with those one meets Bonjour Madam, Merci Madam - All comings and goings are acknowledged.

Number Two: Appears to Be a Good Place to Be Older

From an outsider's viewpoint, does not look as if one must be out of sight if older than Thirty. From what I could see, all ages have a place (especially women who do not color their hair).

Number Three: Appears to be a Good Place to Be Older and Look Good

There must be something about living in a beautiful city that brings out the beauty in the citizens. All sexes, all ages. Believe me, I rarely see a good looking man in the U.S. - no exaggeration maybe once a year tops. It took me some time to figure out the difference: In Paris, the men seemed to be interesting, as if one could actually have a conversation.

It goes without saying, but I will anyway, the women are gorgeous. I have heard for years they look fantastic but do not actually spend that much on clothes - a few great pieces and that's it. I doubt if I will ever get over the heels. I cannot deny the beauty of a high heeled shoe, but it is a mystery how one could navigate a cobbled street.
My heart is in Ohio as well - getting on a plane (not good for my carbon footprint balance sheet) this Friday for my daughter's college graduation. A bittersweet time as she steps deeper into her life, and away from mine. Of course that is the best gift I have been given, to see her thrive and be independent - and it would not be possible without all the family and friends who have helped over the years. Thank you village!

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

To Paris Tomorrow (Photos of Apartment Linked)

Believe it or not I am not crazy about going on a trip. I leave tomorrow, Easter Sunday. And I foolishly believe I can pack in two hours - maybe not so foolish - will practice what I preach & bring a minimal amount.

Not sure if the destination is the important part of travelling or the Before and After of a trip. All the things I will get done BEFORE LEAVING and all the things I will get done AFTER I return. I had to set up Your Money or Your Life's worksheet/graph before leaving - wow, was that a lot of hand-drawn lines - kind of nice to do something so old-fashioned as a graph on butcher paper, with pencil & ruler. More on Your Money or Your Life AFTER I return.

This week has been spent in getting ready for the trip - as one friend puts it: Getting ready for a trip is kind of like getting ready for death. I was able to go through even more of my stuff & was ruthless as in burning journals, letters, cards (saving the card/picture part for a classroom - apparently schools have next to nothing in supplies - one declutter go-round I gave them a bunch or art supplies and notepads). Good god, I would not want my daughter to read some of my ramblings.

What I am looking forward to is seeing meeting up with my sister - this is her apartment:


Smart girl, she mostly rents it out, save for her semi-annual stays. Thankfully I have a job to do at the apartment - too many white walls! The last time I was in Paris, two years ago, we furnished the place, mostly flea market finds - this time I will find a paint store and get busy.

The idea of just going somewhere for "enjoyment" does not do it for me - there is too much I will miss here at the cabin - my tulips will be blooming without me/the chickens will be laying eggs/the spinach,arugula,kale,lettuce is growing like crazy. Oh well, I will have to make it work in Paris: I am up to the challenge of a budget trip. I will be more than happy to shop at grocery store and cook meals at home. Though I will go for a coffee now and again - would not miss out on the people watching.

Speaking of budgets, on my way to airport will be stopping by Rainbow Grocery to return the cosmetics & hair dye. Going to Paris with the hair color as is - grey or silver or whatever combination it is . . . so be it. And not buying a new pair of shoes - will make it work with what I have. Had to learn the lesson again - whenever I buy something I am dissatisfied and I regret the purchase. I was in the throes of obsession/compulsion for about a week there - phew what a relieve that bender is over!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

View From Cabin

Spring has Sprung!

Finally getting the hang of what will work for photo upload - now I have to perform major tune-ups - one cannot tell the white splotch of flowers are trillium.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

My New Favorite Blog: Meet Amanda

Now Amanda does not know me from Adam - does it matter? No.

The Post I have chosen is random - any of Posts I have read have gotten me excited about the possibilities out there in the world.


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Slippery Slope or Slip?

The jury is still out - not sure if my extravagant expenditures are rooted in feeling less than or healthy enhancement of the self.

I do know I spent a lot of dough in less than 24 hours in SF. Box of hair color $16, chemical free make-up (I know, hypocritical, chemicals in hair dye - just not the really bad ones as the dime store hair dye) - this one hurts to admit: close to $70 (includes $6.50 for peppermint oil to make my own toothpaste) - one bright spot 20% coupon off everything (or not - if I did not have the coupon I would have probably spent ZERO. AND clothes at great consignment store - 3 items total a touch over $200. Haircut $70. (not finished yet) tea, coffee & one meal out, give or take $30.

The good news is a spending spree such as this is only once a year - and if I cost average, not too bad. Could I have made due with what I have? Certainly. Is it worth replaying the "should I take back such and such" or should I just move on. Certainly get over it, enjoy what I got and close the chapter.

Simplicity: the mind sometimes throws "good" ideas into the mix and gets me off track = slippery slope.

Frugality: no - spending money is never frugal, in my book - esp. if it's on sale.

Design: I can go for the self-design aspect - why not look as good as I can? Who sees me more than I do (right now) and not crazy about an unzippy reflection.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Maybe, Maybe Not

On a quick trip to San Francisco, less than 24 hours. So good to change out of dirty work jeans and into clean jeans. Maybe three weeks at the cabin was a bit of a stretch.

Maybe I can handle this trip and not over-react, say, if someone honks at me because I have one foot in the pedestrian crosswalk when the light changes. I kept my composure when someone tapped me on my shoulder & said I was holding the line up at Rainbow Grocery (of course I was NOT holding the line up).

I am enjoying a cup of tea and people watching - it helps to have gorgeous sunny weather. As my current obsession is to color or not color the grey, noticing how many grey-haired woman seem to be walking around.

I have always wondered why, whoever created these crazy humans, it (non-gender) would allow the color to seep out of the body. Why would it want everyone to have white or grey hair. I kind of get the idea of not being so concerned with outward appearances and the idea is to be more concerned with what goes on inside - but what about aesthetics?

I feel there is some sort of unspoken solidarity with other women who do not color their hair. Hmm - kind of throws a monkey wrench in my plans -which could be a good thing. TO BE CONTINUED.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

God Created Hair Color

So I do not have to look like an aging hippie. No offense to those living close to one's ideals and living off the land souls - more power to you. Try as I might, I cannot completely embrace the philosophy. Maybe I have lived too long in the city. Maybe that is a good thing. Maybe it's neither good nor bad, just the way it is . . .

I blame my desire to color my hair on Lyndia. Maybe I could blame it on eating whole foods (rice, beans, vegetables, fruit - all simply prepared) for months.

After a day of working outside during intermittent rain storms, cleaning huge sections of tan oak, broom, poison oak, and other forest "weeds" revealing views of the river previously hidden, I was wet, tired, sore and no energy to cook. Lyndia offered to bring dinner - there is nothing quite like someone else cooking for you, in my book. My supper was freshly caught sole, coated in cornmeal and lightly fried, steamed new potatoes, garden fresh carrots and kale, and a memory I will take to to my death bed: freshly baked buttermilk biscuits and butter - with just the right amount of tang & fluff - and when I say they melted in my mouth, I mean they melted in my mouth.

I know good food when I taste it and this meal surpassed anything I have eaten in an expensive restaurant. I have a hunch most of the food Lyndia prepares is this darn delicious. Even after years of cooking for her family, she still loves the act of cooking - what a virtue - must say I could taste the love in the food. I wonder if she would adopt me.

To send me over the top is another friend who loves food is here for a visit. She offered to bring the food and to cook - does it get any better? For the past few days I have been heartily eating on more great food from soups to salads to meat loaf to smoked fish to roasted chicken. Maybe she would adopt me.

So what does this have to do with hair coloring? As I have gone for months without some of the added luxuries in life - though I have been luxuriating in having my own time - I have a greater appreciation for the items which bring so much joy: I heart food!

I certainly do not need to color my hair, I want to color my hair - something about the appreciation for what can be enhanced - if it can be, and it's not an outrageous proposition, why not?

And I do not want to look like an aging hippie in Paris.

Simplicity: Can foster an appreciation for some things in Life.

Frugality: Does not necessarily mean penny pinching - sometimes okay to choose a luxury item.

Design: My self design side says it is time to spruce it up - enough already of the dirt hippie look.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Why I Love the Internet

For almost a week I have been off on a tangent - due to a comment left on a post (insert link later - when I have access to wireless, not the time or patience right now - but for right now: Thank you Beany!). A reference to Your Money or Your Life, Transforming Our Relationship with Money got me thinking You know Jane, you never actually completed all Nine Steps. Hmm, the obvious question Why Not? I had been obsessed with finding the means to take a year off and not working for the man. The bottom line: I am not financially independent yet. What still needs to be researched and developed is passive income to cover all living expenses.

The work to be done is getting this property ready to put on the market. I have been working like a madman this past week clearing, cleaning and revealing the inherent beauty of this property.

My year off is more like putting all effort into Jane, Inc. and my future financial health.

I love the Internet because I am constantly reminded of my goals. And pick up new ways of thinking about things when I read my favorite bloggers.

More along these lines to follow.

Simplicity: Again, a lot of time and effort required to simplify one's life.

Frugality: Though my living expenses are well under one thousand a month, am still investing in the property to prepare to put up for sale.

Design: All my efforts are being put into designing the kind of life that encompasses the ideas of Simplicity, Frugality and Design.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wednesday and Internet and Mental Health

I was not successful in limiting myself to 30 minutes on Monday night - over an hour. Last night it was worse - a drunken St. Patrick's day Internet frenzy (out of control on searching, not alcohol). I would say my time on was over three hours - sure, I found great stuff - but how did I feel afterwards? A hangover from losing myself in all the minutes here, seconds there, a word here, phrase there (I doubt if I even read a complete sentence). The longer on the computer I am, the more my focus gets fuzzier & fuzzier. I feel worse & worse.

What to do about it? Do a posting, if I cannot load picture, oh well - this dial-up thing tests my patience & last night I flunked. Gave up on posting as I could not load picture of my favorite piece of furniture - a brown leather sofa. I had been inspired by one of Beany's posts (The Middle Way) about her evolving sense of her style. Beany touched on some of the things I have contemplated - good old stuff. Later. When I have photos to back up.

Okay, the plan: back to 60 minutes tops on Internet (including email). Internet Diet. Gain time & focus back.

Monday, March 16, 2009


Must say, not the soundest sleep last night - rain hitting the tin overhang, maybe hearing leak inside, maybe hearing bat. And I had stayed up too late stuck on blogs - so many great ones - for example, heard the term Weekend Luddite which I could take on - or better yet, maybe Every Other Day Luddite. But at the end of the day, has my life been enhanced by the hours spent on internet? The answer: No Answer yet.

As I turned on computer this evening, I also turned on timer: 30 minutes.

Will read a book tonight, have the fire going with a mushroom (local), carrot, ginger, rice & tofu soup simmering on top - don't always eat so hippie.

And go to bed early & try, once again to live by Benjamin Franklin's words: Early to Bed, Early to Rise, Makes a Man Healthy, Wealthy & Wise.

Simplicity: This post

Frugality: This meal & double duty on the fireplace.

Design: Lifestyle

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I Admit I Screamed

Wow - not when I see the picture of the cabin with all the junk around the deck on the header photo of blog - sure hope soon I will be able to replace photo with a deck and only one bench.

No, I screamed when a huge bat was flying in the bedroom, not close to the ceiling, away from me, but low in the room, at my head level. Just where he could get tangled in my hair.

We had just turned out the lights, maybe I had even drifted far enough from consciousness when the BF asks me if I heard a noise - what kind of noise? He knew it could be the sound of only one thing: A Bat.

On went the lights and under the covers I went - momentarily - until I could get out of the room. He came up with a plan: put gloves on, get an old sheet & try to get the bat caught up enough so he could get a hold of it & free him (must of been a him) outside. I thought I could be in room when he began the entrapment adventure. But when the bat was flying so close to me I involuntarily screamed, maybe more than once. I was gratefully asked to leave the room. I was no help. The bat's wing span I swear was a foot - at least.

The BF was successful - thank you! - but now he has gone back to the Big City for a couple of weeks and I am on my own. I hope on my own.

One more thing to add to my fear list.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Time To Grow Up (At My Age!!!)

I have been back to the cabin in the woods for a few days. Wow - if it were not for visiting with friends in San Francisco I would have high-tailed it back here after one day of city living. There is a certain edge to being in the city which has its place & I hope some day I can swing both ways without major meltdowns.

Back to the clutter/stuff thing: Picked up a quick read from the library - outlining the differences between a person living with clutter and a hoarder. I do not think I am either one but I can live with boxes and piles of paper around & not get bent out of shape - let alone dishes in the dish rack for days on end.

My new challenge (or revisiting a habit I have tried unsuccessfully in the past to pick up) - wash dishes, dry & put away. Put whatever back where it came from - esp. as most things now have a place.

This whole clutter thing is fascinating to me - whatever barriers get in the way to my freedom I want to face. Kind of the outward clutter being a manifestation off unclear, unfocused thinking.

Maybe I am the only one who did not learn housekeeping at an appropriate age - but time to grow up and get with the program!

Simplicity: Beginning to get idea how much self-discipline involved with this undertaking.

Frugality: Discipline leads to awareness and more conscious decisions = saving $. Will get back to you on this one - not quite there yet.

Design: Who does not like a clean living space?

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Place I Sold In San Francisco The Week Before The Crash

When I got further into looking at my numbers & realized I was working half the month to pay for the "privilege" of owning a place in the city I knew: Not Worth The Exchange of My Life Energy. And, believe it or not, my place was too big for me at approximately 850 sq. ft. I also had the feeling that time was of the essence and I needed to get my place listed ASAP. Little did I know how hard the beginning of the crash would be - the good news is the buyer cashed out stock and paid cash - we both won big time on the timing.

This is my last day in San Francisco for who knows how long - am taking advantage of high-speed internet & ability to post photos - hence this San Francisco Story.

Am so looking forward to being back at my cabin in the woods - great to see friends BUT I had no idea how the serenity of the woods had been working its way into me AND first layers of stress falling off. The catch: would not have realized unless I had my visit to the city. The way things work!

Simplicity: This is the place where the ideas came together of how I wanted to live my life and started the long process of simplifying.

Frugality: I began to see the possibility of riches without being "rich."

Design: This is an example of my design sensibility - started out with more muted colors & then said forget it this is my place & I happen to love orange.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Burned Out on Internet or a Bus Load of Faith

Do not know if anyone else experiences Internet fatigue/boredom :-)

Checked my email yesterday afternoon, got my Early Retirement Extreme fix (see blogroll) - closed out in quarter of an hour - oops, not correct- later patiently set up online banking. Later in the evening, when I might go on again said forget about it, I am going to read - much more satisfying to close a book instead of the computer . And not left with the lingering dissatisfaction of having wasted a little bit or a lot of time on Internet.

Check in: am so close to being 100% finished with the de-cluttering process - I have never been so organized in my entire life (no exaggeration)! It feels as if something or Some Thing has been dislodged, leaving room for . . . it's a mystery right now. It is kind of like jumping of a cliff and having faith - which reminds me: heard a new song by Lou Reed yesterday and love the title something like You've Got To Have A Bus Load of Faith!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Random Observations About Stuff, Food & Human Contact

1. My punctuation rusty - some of the rules come back to me after I post - oops - but there is always edit. I would have never thought I would succumb to using all lower case letters in emails, but I do.

2. I am going to San Francisco next week - have not been there since the last day of 2008, when I officially moved to the cabin. It will have been over two weeks since I have written in a car.

3. Looking forward to a couple of restaurant meals - one at Nopa. Great food and they serve hundreds of dinners a night and have something like one can of garbage - everything else recycled or composted. Instead of a gold watch I was given a gift certificate as a going away gift. Over the years I was given investment opportunities in real estate in lieu of any retirement plan. You bet I will enjoy this dinner and planning to celebrate with champagne!

4. Will have access to high speed internet & hope to finally upload photos. Maybe get it together with Twitter & Facebook. Maybe Not.

5. Bringing a batch of stuff to sell on Ebay.

6. By the time I leave here on Sunday, my de-cluttering process should be complete.

7. I have been shopping at a consignment shop Good Buys in the Pacific Heights neighborhood (upscale area) for over 15 years. As I have given so many clothes away, am afraid I will not have a decent outfit for Paris - and I cannot dress like a lumberjack walking those streets. BUT part of my plan this year is not to be anything - though did not ban used items - kind of a dilemma. AND my motto is "make it work" - a motto I am borrowing from Tim Gunn (think that is his name from Project Runway). Will See.

8. Not successful giving up caffeine - in coffee yes - but not tea. I had such an internal battle going on, I could not get things down. I am not one of those people who wake up in the morning full of enthusiasm - I need help. Whatever.

Simplicity: Not simple to simplify. Probably year of slow and steady work BUT the good news is there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Just in time for Spring and . . .

Planting seeds - nothing like live fresh food for a fraction of the cost.

Step-by-Slow-Step to Design the next part of my life.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Number Three on List: Chimney Fires

Just so happens I had a dream last night the cabin burned to the ground & I lost absolutely everything (the capital invested in this property). Besides being stunned & horrified, I thought "Man, all that time I took to de-clutter - what a waste!"

I got thinking about chimney fires BIG TIME after reading littlebloginthebigwoods.blogspot.com. I am adding this guy to blog roll - he has lived off the grid for over 30 years in someplace super freezing, as in Minnesota - hardcore guy and also writes insightful state of world financial affairs.

Chimney fires: clean flue every two week, burn combination hard & soft woods, burn hot fires (burn out creosote) especially after damping fire down.

Cabin burning down: always chance one takes living in California - especially as "managed fires" or fires that need to take place to clean out the riff-raff growth are stunted because people like me live here. The good news is there are many redwoods which are not easily burned & the cabin is down in a valley, as opposed to on top of a ridge.

It is not possible to get fire insurance - I have checked & once the insurance company maps out location: sorry, you are in a national forest - cannot be insured.

Just passing on a glimpse of practical things to consider if one has dreams of living in a cabin in the woods.

Simplicity: Heating with wood is not simple - there is a lot of tending the fire & if the temperature drops low one does not want to the fire to go out in the middle of the night.

This category is a wild card - if one has source for free wood - great - otherwise a cord of wood is pricey - I have not had to pay for wood yet. But the fireplace is not only source of heat but a great cooking /drying spot: clothes, mushrooms, nuts, whatever. Have considered a propane heater from Craigslist, but now on the homestretch of colder times.

Another bonus: exercise carrying & chopping wood.

Design: Burning wood is carbon neutral. Nothing compares to gazing at wood burning - connects me to people from all times and places.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Wild Animals

Number Two on my List of Fears (not in any particular order on the Fear Scale)

I have carried a romanticized version of certain writers' day-to-day life - Virginia Woolf, the brother and sister Wordsworth and a number of other English writers. They seemed to walk every afternoon - after a morning of writing. (I am picking out the part I like about this vision, not the writing and migrane/serious psychological disorders part).

Walking has been a part of my life for years. My first big time walking started when I quit the nicotine habit many moons ago. San Francisco is no place for a car, though I certainly used one for transporting my daughter. If I had it to do over I would use public transportation. When she went away to college I sold the car - work was about 3.5 miles each way - which is only a 50 minute walk.

Get to the wild animals.

Here in the woods certain scary animals have been cited: bears and wild big cats - and I have seen the remains of their feasts - bones picked clean. I cannot always walk with my neighbor & her dogs.

Something about the rhythm of walking and the variation of sites does wonders for my mental health and this time is all about health. The dirt road by the cabin continues on for another 2 miles - I figure as a car or two travels the road per day the word is out to the bigger animals to stay away: cars are not friendly. After a week of walking the dirt road I am feeling more comfortable - I will have to live with my fear and do it any way.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Going Out On A Limb

This sabbatical, to date, seems to be about Facing Fears - going into it, all I knew was that I would not know what to expect - how's that for a twisted sentence?


1. Depression

2. Being attacked by wild animals as in bears and/or wild cats - probably at the same time

3. Chimney fire & cabin burning down

4, Physically never get back my strength & being stiff & crunchy the rest of my days

5. Never being able to get a job again

6. Being caffeine addict the rest of my life

7. At the end of my days - or whenever - finding out there is no god

8. Always having certain food preferences & not being satisfied with less


1. As I knew would be spending much time alone in the days coming up, it called for a ramping up of taking care of my business so as not to drop into a slump. The mind, being a wily force, seems to forget the things to help once a slight slide is perceived. The action called for was writing out a chart, as simple-minded as it sounds, of those things to help: walk, exercise, meditate, and be grateful. All stops were pulled on the gratitude tool: each weight set I finished, each step I took, I said "Thank You" - as crazy as it sounds, don't ask me why - IT WORKS - my days are happy. (Will keep this post just to #1 - god issue too big to tackle right now).

Simplicity: There are only a few things I need to do every day to make a world of difference on my outlook & thus my productivity: exercise - weights & walking & stretching & shoulder/headstands - granted totals a good 2.5 hours.

Frugality: By spending this time and all aspects of my health, am investing in my future capacity to earn money. As I read once on a PF blog somewhere - our greatest asset is the ability to earn $ - (unless you have a great portfolio :-)

Design: As I design my day-to-day life in the present, am planning for my future.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Reasons Not to Blog

1. One has to be fairly consistent.

2. Have to practice "It does not matter what others think of me."

3. Have to put thoughts on paper = commit to ideas.

4. Fears have to surface: uncreative, unoriginal, slow-witted, inadequate writer & thinker, sound pathetic.

5. Cannot figure out (yet) how to upload photos (see #4).

6. Expose self.

7. All the above are reasons to write blog, in spite of it all.

Simplicity - What's not simple about writing? :-)

Frugality - It will cost me big time if I don't practice 1-7 as soon as possible.

Design - The design of my life imagined, slowly putting to life.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Things I Do For Health

I consider this time to be one of rejuvenation so I can hit it hard one more time (at least) - it's a sabbatical, not retirement. Addressing the little things that have bugged me for some time - health or otherwise.

1. My neck & shoulders are all crunchy from sitting at a desk for years - doing shoulder stands & head stands (makes sense to literally turn things upside down).

2. Scale weigh in every morning - numbers don't lie, financially or otherwise - I am not a nut about my weight but like to check in. Apparently there is some sort of Japanese diet solely based on this method - no surprise.

3. Free weights & bar - no gym required.

4. Physical outdoor labor - wood and all that.

5. Getting off the caffeine - finally getting the nerve to quit - been many years addicted.

6. Acupuncture - see #5 - I know better than try to attempt some endeavors alone - I am fortunate in having a neighbor just starting out & she is awesome!

7. Meditation - not yet - currently consists of sitting on couch & looking out at the forest & daydreaming. Grateful I have this time to do whatever.

8. Yoga - only a couple poses - I cannot believe that I use to have a six day/week Ashtanga Practice - not giving up on that idea.

9. Reading

10. Get in car maximum once a week.

11. Eat well

12. Don't sit in chairs often - got to unwind myself (in all ways).

Simplicity: Focusing on my health

The only thing that costs $ is the acupuncture - it's preventative.

Focusing on my life design - what works & does not work

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I Will Not Be Able to Camp For My Daughter's College Graduation

I know many pf bloggers do not believe in paying for a child's private school education. I have a different take. My daughter, through her own merits, was accepted at one of San Francisco's best High Schools (believe me I did not put pressure on her to get into a "good" school). The kicker: no financial help. If she had the where-with-all to get herself there, it was my job to find the $. (I am a single parent & her father is not a dead beat dad - the opposite - he contributed his 50%). We both found a way to do it.

In college, in the mid-west, she as able to get combo scholarships, parental help & minimal loans. Junior & Senior Years she was an R.A. - and this year that covered room & board 100%.

From a very young age my daughter has earned, saved & tracked her money. She did not pick up that trait from me - I came into this way of living only recently.

Okay, I know I have to fly back for the graduation and rent a car (I am not complaining). I thought maybe I could save money by camping instead of a hotel. When I broached the subject with her there was silence and then "You cannot come to my graduation in a lumber jacket!"

End of discussion.

I love my daughter.

Sometimes that is not the most appropriate or wise choice.

Design: My daughter's life has been designed to thrive.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

This Decluttering Process is Becoming a Drag

I have got to be done with this mundane task by the end of the week. This whole simplicity thing is sounding a bit cliche (in a self-critical kind of way).

And why am I so obsessed with getting rid of stuff? The house I grew up in was a chaotic mess - no need for details here. One of my few childhood memories was delivering girl scout cookies to a little house set in an orchard - inside that house was only a sisal rug and couch - I was in complete awe. The strange thing I am realizing is this cabin is becoming that house - complete with the porch and sliding glass doors.

The last thing I want this blog to be about is finding ways to contain the stuff in plastic bins under the bed and clipping coupons and getting out of debt. I am after something along the words of Hans Hoffman (ran across this yesterday - I figure there are those who have gone before me who have a better way with words):

The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so the necessary can speak.

- Nothing is ever really simple

Frugality - Did not spend any money today - except the cost of living - including $ for generator gas to charge batteries to listen to radio -and the usual food.

Design - By the process of massive elimination

Monday, February 9, 2009

Random Observations About Stuff, Food & Human Contact

1. I underestimated the amount of time it would take to organize my stuff.

2. The de-cluttering process could take another month.

3. Fantasy: All my stuff has its own particular place.

4. Fantasy: I will put anything I use back it's place when finished.

5. Fantasy: I will keep all surfaces clear (might as well add the fantasy that I will wash my dishes, dry & put away when finished using).

6. Not everyone appreciates not having stuff around - as a matter of fact can make them uncomfortable.

7. I can be happy eating rice/beans/lettuce/avocado on a crispy corn tortillas every day for a week.

8. I can go days without listening to music.

9. I do not like to go more than one day not seeing another human.

10. I like to talk to at least two people on the phone a day.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Would It Not Be Easier To Have A Job?

My job seems to be to spend the entire day with my self, without the usual distractions of job, news, let alone other people. I better like myself for the most part, but as with any friend, you need a break once in a while - well, without the normal day-to-day stuff to get my attention, I am pretty well stuck with just ME - and I can by annoying

Yesterday I had serious doubts of my choice of places to be - in the middle of the woods - and was feeling out-of-control & vulnerable in my situation - not a comfortable feeling. It had begun to rain (which is a great thing - don't get me wrong) but in this environment when it rains, it's a powerfully loud deluge.

As with most things, it all changed today - good to know feelings are not facts. My job is to be here, with myself, by myself for the most part - and see what happens.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

My Best Laid Plans Were Shelved

Every morning for almost two weeks I place a call to the Air Quality Department to listen to the recording letting one know if a green light exists to burn. As you may know, California is experiencing the lowest rainfall ever - and for the last couple of weeks a high pressure system has been in place = no burning allowed. Finally, yesterday, the recording stated okay to burn after 9 a.m. I have been clearing brush & pruning trees, in hopes to make the property as fire unfriendly as possible. There is always a slight unease I feel being in the middle of a forest - mix of fir & redwood - redwood being the less combustible of the two - but still!

In my basic living expenses of $1000/month, am not including all costs for maintenance and capital improvements of the property - believe me I find it hard to keep that one in check. How could I resist a logging guy with a bucket which reaches 40' and could do a super clean up job on the huge trees? The two logging partners showed up mid-afternoon - a couple of chainsaws each and a beautiful Ford 550 with the bucket on the telescoping rig. They wasted no time getting to work - no safety glasses or gloves but ear plugs -two hours worth of work with awe inspiring results.

Simplicity: I did not have to do any exercises with weights - got crazy work out moving limbs, stumps, branches - stacking for firewood or stoking the burn pile.

Frugality: Yes, spent money but preventative measures to protect investment.

Design: The two loggers get the design award for the day - they both love & respect trees & enhance the beauty of the trees by their work.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Only Human I Saw Yesterday

Though I very often talk to the chickens I do know the difference - at least for now. I had been hoping for a satellite dish here - had been willing to shell out the money - and had waited patiently for my appointment - though it meant a long delay in posting since I have been back from road trip almost two weeks. Anyway, the satellite surveyor guy performed his diligent search for south east satellite clearance and had to tell me no such luck - the trees were in the way - makes sense, this place is in the bottom of a forest. As it turns out I am quite content with the outcome - after he left I got on the phone to search for a dial-up connection - and practicing phone company patience here I am: on-line the old-fashioned way. If I do have to wait for something such as a picture to load (forget YouTube) I can get up and wash the dishes, do a headstand, or prune a tree, and maybe by the time I come back the photo will be complete.

Yesterday also marks the crossing of some sort of line: I put what is left of my hair in two pig-tails - imagining they were thick braids. This environment calls for a no-nonsense approach to vanity. I still have tad bid of pride - I stuck a hat on my head before meeting the satellite man.

Simplicity: Won't be compelled to waste much time on Internet - keep the focus on the here and now.

Frugality: Twenty bucks a month instead of sixty - Let alone the initial installation expense of $400 - yikes!

Design: No eyesore satellite dish and various cables.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Road Trip - favorite new place: Big Bend National Park in West Texas

Been on the road for a couple of weeks in what has to be the best way to travel: Cab-Over Camper on a diesel pick up. We picked up the cab-over in Phoenix Area - no small feat in the land of giant rv's - for $900 through Craigslist - yes, a few technical bugs but that is where the handy BF saves the day - 6' x 8' plus full size bed over cab - you can imagine my new ideas: sell everything and hit the road. Quite a few steps between where I sit today & being able to be on a mobile adventure. The most astonishing fact I discovered (though do your own work on details :) is one can buy a year pass for the National Parks for something like $80 - and you can stay for up to 15 days in one site - now that would be a great blog!

Should be back to No. California this weekend - might have to re-think the dial-up/satellite connection and readjust budget accordingly.

Mid February Update: Cab-over resold on Craigslist to a gentleman hoping to find gold. Still believe in the beauty of fitting everything for living in an area the size of a cab-over - be it a tiny house or whatever - As you can see, this was a little bit much on the Beverly Hillbilly side of life.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Finding a buddy to work with - part coach/part inspiration/part sounding board/but most importantly: YOU SUPPORT EACH OTHER - in whatever way you determine will help each other. This note is also a Thank You to anyone out there who has helped me, been an influence, guide, thorn in my side, whatever. Back to the buddy thing: over the past couple of weeks, what with the holidays, last day of work, whatever excuse, we got off our once a week check in. By the beginning of this week, I seriously had my doubts about the decisions I had made - especially in the creative realm. BUT, as we made our date to meet and review, it all came into focus again - my various goals, dreams, ideas. I don't know why it works, but it does. What a long, drawn out process of realizing I actually need people in my life - that human thing has had me stumped - wow, have I been crusty.

Okay, on to other items: I have to work out the dial-up internet thing at the cabin so there might not be posts for a few days, or a week - My other challenge: loading photos - LATER.