Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Adulting For Three: "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courage—to move in the opposite direction."

Back when I was a student at Lane Community College I took a Writing 122 class, from a professor, who is the sister Oregon's former Governor (it was super cool to me to find out that she had helped write former Governor Kitzhaber's speeches during his 1995 campaign)-- and out of all of my college experiences from 2009/2010 her class still remains to be one of my better experiences. Her first assignment for the class, outside of daily readings, and short essay questions was writing a paper on any subject using rhetoric essay.

At the time, I was missing Jess and Ian and the kids, desperately-- so, I wrote my paper on communal living, excluding my own personal experiences. Here's the essay, and the start of me sharing some of the hard(er), fun, and amazing experience I had while living with my chosen family in a series of blog entries I wanna call Adulting For Three.

“All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God's grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.” –Act 4:32-35

Often, when one thinks of communal living images of free love and psychedelic drugs come to mind. It is thought that communes are something that became extinct with the sixties and seventies. However, many people live communally today in co-ops, eco-villages, co-housing groups, intentional communities, and group marriages. Andrew Jacobs of The New York Times wrote that, contrary to popular misconceptions, "Most communes of the 90's are not free-love refuges for flower children, but well-ordered, financially solvent cooperatives where pragmatics, not psychedelics, rule the day."

Community living is designed to have a much higher degree of teamwork focusing on a common goal; members typically hold common spiritual, social and political views. The purpose of communal living may vary for some; however one commonality is living simply; sharing resources and responsibilities, embracing sustainable life-styles and celebrating family-based ideology. Living in such communities has many advantages to individuals and the wider environment. By rejecting competitiveness and production, and replacing it with unity and cooperative work one is placing an emphasis on friendship and family instead of the need for material goods.

In many cultures, societies and religions there is a distant memory of when humankind lived in a primitive and simple state, one of perfect happiness and fulfillment. There was an instinctive harmony between man and nature. Men’s needs were few and desires were limited, both were satisfied by the abundance provided by nature. Accordingly, there were no motives for war or oppression, nor was there any need for hard and painful work—humans were simple and pious, and felt themselves close to the gods.

This Utopian-theory on life is the premise behind living simply, a lifestyle characterized by only consuming what is required to sustain life. E.F. Schumacher summarized it by saying, “any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courage—to move in the opposite direction.” Communal ideology idealizes social unity and maintains that humanness only exists in intimate and collective life. In these small communities great emphasis is placed on providing a controlled and manipulated environment in which social life may be structured to create the perfect being. In other words, the belief of happiness in the present, or “heaven on earth” underlies the establishment of Utopian communities.

Moreover, communal living is an excellent choice for people who enjoy deep, intimate companionship. An intentional community can be looked at as a “chosen family,” in the respect that it is made up of people who came together intentionally based on commonalities other than biological (or adoptive) accident. Communal living is a remarkably viable means for enriching lives with interpersonal adventures and fun—it can supply a person with the best a family has to offer, a circle of connected, loving co-experiences with whom to share life.

There are practical advantages to communal living as well. Often expense-sharing groups can live more cheaply than a single person can. By sharing responsibilities one is free to experience life, for example traveling; there is always going to be others to water plants, take in mail, pay bills, and keep company to those who stay behind, and so on.

In conclusion, communal living is a social network, the sharing and maximizing of resources will improve greatly the quality of life of an individual as well as the healing of the planet; chances are there is always someone available to look over a final draft, to listen to a cool idea, to take a walk in the sunset with, to fall in love with, to learn and teach something to, and laugh with.

Communal living is a potent and powerful medium for free, creative, experimental, sustainable, ecological, and fulfilling way of life. By pooling together money, creativity, skills, assets, ideas and resources; and thereby supplying basic needs through communal energies, there are both an abundance of all things available, and an optimization in the efficiency of their use.

Cher could change her toothpaste and the gays have a whole Rose parade. How about a Rose parade for Charo, gays?

The other night while I was sitting on the floor with my back straight, up against the sofa, and legs stretched straight in front of me, I moved wrong and my back went out. It came out of no where, Bradford was asleep behind me on the couch as I was wrapping a hula hoop. I yelped, then cried out, and then couldn't stop the tears.

I've been having some on-and-off pain in my back for two weeks straight-- it happens wit my lady issues, back pain has always how cramps manifested themselves as early as 11 with my first period.

It has been an ugly, and awful way to kick off birthday week (I will be 31 on Friday).

Currently, life has been more stressful, and frustrating than anything else, and it's got me depressed. Plus, it's been about three years since I've had doctor instructions to not hoop, and whenever I am told to stay away from the hoop-- the one thing that seeming brings pain relief, outside of narcotics, I get sad.

But, apparently, this is too jarring, so even if it helps soothe lady pains, it will wreak havoc on my sacrum until it's better.

On a positive note, I finally have an in with being able to set myself up with a primary doctor, finally. After I got my insurance, I learned that even though I have good insurance (thanks, Obama), there are so many people trying to find providers that NO ONE IS TAKING NEW PATIENTS.

No one.

In March, when I had to go into the ER for what was either a flare up of Diverticulitis, or a cyst being dickish (Thanks, PCOS), the ER doctor was horribly unkind, didn't listen to me, made me feel uncomfortable, gave me medication I was unsure the use for (I'll take responsibility on this one for not asking more questions, but I also was in pain, and at a point where I was like; 'just gimme something to make me feel better'), and then gave me the name of a follow-up doctor who was male, I knew nothing about, and he decided he'd be my new primary since I didn't have one.

His words were; "this is the primary I am giving you."

You're not gifting me something, I am uncomfortable with, douche. Also, if he had paid any attention during his questions he would have learned that I have a difficult time with male doctors (except for Dr. Schaffer, and Dr. Nance), because of past sexual abuse, rape, and I feel vulnerable from the miscarriages.

The ER doctor yesterday listened to me beautifully. Commented on how well I conduct myself and communicate medical issues, and then when she recommended a follow-up doctor, and SUGGESTED that I might ask the doctor she recommended to be my primary, but the doctor recommended is a local family practice, female doctor I know relatively well, because at one point was my mother's primary care doctor.

So, I am making an appointment with Dr. Katherine Beckstrand, and it's my hopes that this will be the first steps I take to getting myself better. I hope that through seeing a primary I can get set-up with a therapist, get going towards working with endocrinologist, and hopefully just have a better, different take on my wellness.

In the meantime, I spent over four hours on the phone with Jess the other day. We caught each other up on stuff, allowed each other to have brief pity parties-- and, surprisingly enough, having her to complain my first world problems to helped my attitude a lot. Plus, I know that I was a reassuring voice for her in a few things as well.

Moreover, I was able to talk to Jess about some of the things going on as far as Buckleberry Hoops, and KUWS-- I shared the news about my Google Adsense Application being approved, and Jess was super eager to here my ideas for writing topics, and my goals of slowly directing KUWS back to it's main course of action, and treat it a little less like a I am a 12-year-old girl spilling all my woes out, with little else thrown in.

I told Jess about still wanting to write about my experiences as being a secondary spouse to a midwife, I told her about wanting to try and do a better job eating and how maybe writing about my experiences of eating healthy while being on Public Assistance-- showing the things I receive when I need aid from Food For Lane County, and the things I do with my limited SNAP budget. I expressed interest in wanting to put a funny spin about Ian, Jess, and Ian's living situations in the past, and how when you're in the right family, regardless of how that family may look, it is easier to "Adult." And, I want to maybe write about some of the more insensitive things I've heard, or read from my pregnancy losses-- maybe sharing the funnier responses I've had to try and put some humor into a dark subject.

I also want to put a focus back on hooping a little more-- I will be performing at the Festival of Eugene this year, and I am Choreographing my Hoop Dance myself. I kinda want to explore the steps I took putting together my performance, because unlike a lot of what I am seeing as far as performers, I don't have extensive studies in dance, or have a choreographer.

Anyways, I don't want to get too far ahead of myself, or not make good on these goals, but it was really nice talking to my friend, and having her get excited with me over some of the ideas I've been kicking around in my head, and I hope it'll be nice to see these things come to be over time.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Train Your Heart and Mind To See the Good In Everything. There Is Always Something To Be Grateful For.

Ever since the methotrexate last year, every lady-cycle is like it was back in 2007/2008.

It hasn't been an easy, or fun road, but I am an avid believer that being idle won't fix anything. Unfortunately, like I've mentioned in previous posts, it hasn't been until the last several years that I have been able to find good online sources to help with support and education with my condition.

Prior to that it was always lose weight, without any explanation on how one can lose weight while suffering from a condition that not only makes it difficult to take off weight, but also makes you gain weight explanation.

I've mentioned being at a loss until finding hula hooping, which taught me a great deal about pain management, and how after a while with it, and the help of MyFitnessPal I took off a lot of weight (at my heaviest back in 2007/2008 I was at/over 300 pounds-- no one knows for sure, if you stay clear of scales).

However, ever since the methotrexate injections the pain hasn't been manageable. And, for someone who doesn't like to sit completely idle, it's awful, and it brings on depression. I hate not being able to function normally. It makes me angry.

My sister, Hayley, wrote this article about Invisible Illness for the Northern Star a few years ago. Sometimes looking at my younger sister's struggle have similarities to mine makes me feel less alone, and gives me strength. That's kinda what a lot of the online support does for me. It makes me feel less bad about being broken.

Today, I am trying desperately hard to move away from the anger, move away (metaphorically) from the pain, and try to focus on other stuff-- more specifically, I am going to focus on stuff I can/need to do that I can do while staying put.

Essentially, today I am going to call-in (I already asked a co-worker if he would be able to cover me if I ended up calling in, and he said he would be available. I am SO, so grateful), I am going to practice some stretching, and yoga poses to try and ease some of this. I will get in meditation, and some breathing exercise and also practice the Leg/Wall Pose, before doing a long, hot soak.

Afterwards, I plan on putting my organization/creative skills to work, and working on some of the following hoop related things I need to get done: I have a hoop I need to finish wrapping, I want to take nice(r) quality pictures of the hoops I currently have on hand to get posted to Buckleberry Hoops' Facebook page so I can hopefully sell some of the hoops I have on hand. I want to make a realistic list of things to do, and start organizing the Flow Jam event Buckleberry Hoops is hosting with the Eugene Hoopery a little better so that Stephanie and I can make a decent, fun thing happen on June 6th.

I hope some intense self-care, and getting a bunch of 'To Dos' taken care of I never want to do (because who wants to sit at a computer all day when you're working five days a week?), I'll feel better. I want to care for myself so on Friday I'll have a good attitude for work, and I am hoping with a little effort I can sell a few hoops, and then start work on the Hoop Jam.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

I will go anywhere as long as it's forward. --David Livingston

I feel like it's important to mention that as I write this Bill Nye the Science Guy is playing on Netflix. I am so grateful that it's available to watch.

Today was a bad pain day. Just awful. I am really babying myself, and Bradford is pretty much being my super Bradford-bear by being freaking awesome. He's fixed all the meals today, cleaned the house, has been my chauffeur, baked things, and has been present for comfort by holding me when warranted, and massaging aches and pains as they arrive.

When I left work I was in tears. Hell, the tears started while I was at work and I realized that I am in the kitchen, and since there is no one around-- no customers, coworkers, or otherwise-- I can just cry.

My eyes swelled and spilled over as I platted cookies, and prepped a few more things for the salad bar-- emotions were high for me as I took things more personally than I normally do, and situations and people felt condescending-- which was made even more frustrating, because the first thing I told the opening manager was; "hey, I am having a really bad pain day."

It sucks, because at my job there is no telling how busy things will be-- so, if I decide to "work through it" there is no guarantee of an easier time.

It sucks.

I don't really want to focus the entirety of this entry with ramblings of how hard some days are so, I am going to continue and keep this light.

Well, yesterday wasn't as bad as far as pain management. And, since Bradford and I celebrated 11 months since our first date on Monday it was a good a day as any to do a little adventuring. We started by heading outta town on the back roads towards Clear Lake Road, we went through Alvadore and made it to Highway 36.

Once on the windy road of the Lower Pass we headed toward Triangle Lake-- I showed Bradford where my younger brother got married, where we camped as a family, and Amanda, Devon and I all went swimming. We then parked at the little turnout just outside of the town Triangle Lake and continued our way to the "rock slides,' or Lake Creek Falls.

Lake Creek Falls is an incredible place-- it's a fish ladder, and in the Fall you can see salmon just sitting in the very clear water. Plus, everything is smooth, and as you travel with the flow of water at the bottom there is an incredible swimming hole (we did NOT go swimming).

Anyways, I've been wanting to take Bradford out there, so it was a nice little change of pace. From there we continued on Highway 36 through Swisshome and onto Mapleton. From there we continued our adventure by hopping onto 126, going over the Suislaw River Bridge and going up Sweet Creek.

I had never been to Sweet Creek Falls before, and we didn't want to do the WHOLE hike, because we figured we would be back (hopefully, with the Ten Eyck's), and would want to experience the hike from the first Trailhead.

Nevertheless, we had a spectacular time walking along the little path on the forest floor, along the creek. We saw pretty snails that popped with color. There were Banana Slugs. And, we saw several millipedes (they produce cyanide, btw).

Everything was new, and exciting-- made even better by Bradford's excitement, and smiles.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

"Oh, lady, running down to the riptide, taken away to the darkside-- I wanna be your left hand man."

I survived. It was hard for a variety of reasons, Mother's Day, but I am grateful, because I learned a lot, and came to a few realizations that I don't think I would have came to if it weren't for Sunday's struggles.

Other than that, my feelings can be summed up with; it is easier to be strong when you have someone to be strong for-- even though I know I am enough, I am really missing Jess, Ian, and the kids. Sometimes, having two other people around to be a team with helps tremendously-- I am missing co-parenting. I am missing the children. I am missing being more than just two.

Anyways, I've been really focusing myself on work, and hooping lately. I've been trying to balance my time as much as possible, and Bradford and I are even working on putting together a functional office area to be able to manage Buckleberry Hoops a little better.

It is my hopes that we will be able to put the right amount of effort into the little hoop shop that once we are in Corvallis we are stable enough for the move-- even though Buckleberry survived the move from SLC to Eugene it has been difficult to keep up the same momentum I once had.

Not having dedicated work space, dance space, and not having the same level of support when I first arrived in Oregon that I had, business wise, in Utah has made me change things up, and it's my hopes that a positive summer, full of art, hiking, camping, hooping, picture taking, cooking-- all while working, putting forth the effort to help Buckleberry succeed once relocated in the Linn/Benton area, maybe there won't be as much of a hard time.

To kick off the summer I am hosting a Hoop Jam on Saturday, June 6th with a fellow Eugene Hooper. We are both going to have hoops ready to sell during the jam, hopefully we'll have some extra hoops to play with at the Jam, I am hoping to be able to finally make a Tandem Hoop (a two person hoop), and we'll be raffling off a couple of hula hoops.

It should be really fun, and way better than last year's failed attempt to host a jam.

Other than that I am really trying to challenge myself with different festival ideas. I am hoping to sit down and write out of a list of at least 4 different summer festivals I want to either SELL hoops at, or PERFORM at. I am actually finishing my application for the Festival of Eugene 2015, where I am applying to perform at on one of the three days the Festival is going.

In addition to that on Friday Skye, Keith,Juju, Bradford and I are going hiking up at Allsea Falls (weather, and my job allowing), and we'll get some more video of me hooping. I am getting really stoked for the next video with Radiance Photographics, and I am looking forward to the next photoshoot-- Keith, has mentioned getting some LED pictures in their studio space.

All this activities planning, and future art making has me smiling. I dunno. I guess focusing on spinning in circles is making my life better. Like always.