Monday, June 29, 2015

"Like Stars Burning Holes Right Through the Dark, Flicking Fire Like Saltwater Into My Eyes"

My most recent hooping video was published the other day, thanks to Radiance Photographics. I am honestly surprised that it got done so quickly! We ended up getting more hooping footage last Monday, and I am so excited that five days later Keith was messaging me to say that the hooping video was finished. It's crazy, because as Skye and Keith's friend, I know how crazy busy they are, especially this close to July. Thanks, guys! 

This is the first video that I've been in/made for a long while. My last video I made was called Hooping Out Sorrow. It was made in my living room in Salt Lake City, published on March 11, 2014-- I had put on the song Never Going Back Again, by Fleetwood Mac and let all the negativity spin outta me. I had found out the day prior to making Hooping Out Sorrow that my planned pregnancy was ectopic, 17 days after finding out my pregnancy was ectopic and 4 shots (the first two injections failed) of methotrexate later, and my then fiance dumped me a month prior to the date we were planning on eloping. 

I know I've dealt, and said all this before, but sometimes I need to remind myself everything that happened, the severity and extent in which things took place, so I can better forgive myself, and not feel guilty about the time I've needed to heal; physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

It's crazy, there is a sad truth about the bitterness left inside after experiencing two back to back pregnancy losses-- I've suffered from a creativity block, and at times it has made it really difficult for me to pickup the pieces of my broken heart, and move on.

Despite obvious weight gain in between my last personal hooping video and this newest hooping video, I feel strong, healthier, and proud of my body. In my video you'll see me about 25/30lbs heavier than my last video. Still, I am in my bathing suit, I have skin showing, and I am still dancing my heart out.

To quote Will Smith in Men Black; "You know what the difference is between you and me? I make this look GOOD."And, I do look good, feel good, and continue to see myself heal despite being in some weird constant state of grief over the last year and a half. 

#Curvyhooper #Happycampers #RadiancePhotographics #BuckleberryHoops
And, I am more grateful than I can even begin to verbalize, because Skye and Keith have really helped bring creativity and flow back into my life-- creating a safe place for me to spin up magic while tagging along for photoshoots, family outings, and a camping trip...not to mention, giving me the opportunity to play a special role in their child's life. 

This video was shot all over Lane County; Wendling, Oregon (East of Marcola), Hobbit Trails Beach in Florence, Oregon, Mt. Pisgah in Eugene, Oregon, and in Fall Creek, Oregon. 


Also, another neat little tidbit about the new hooping video, but my very first full length hooping video, that my mama helped film the day after my Hoopiversary was made to the same song-- a little over five years ago. 

Other than that, I know my last blog post was a lot of complaints-- things are still hard financially, but we are trying our best to be positive, and keep afloat...but, we are welcoming well wishes, prayers, positive thoughts, green candles being lit for us on Thursday, and are not above accepting baking goods.

Because, sometimes, cookies help, dude. 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

"Towanda Righter of Wrongs Queen Beyond Compare!"

We finally heard back about Bradford's unemployment  benefits.

Bradford was denied.

My sweet-love, had started his position with Symantec last year right around the time we had started dating. He actually hates IT work, but he has a degree and experience working with computers. He needed to work, because prior to this he had been going to school at Oregon State University for two years, accumulating out-of-state debt. This job was part of his plan to fully become an Oregonian so he would no longer have to pursue his Physics degree at OSU as an out-of-stater-- there is something like a $14,495 savings in becoming a resident, and paying in-state tuition versus out-of-state tuition.

It's significant.

Things have been stretched thin and hard since April 14th when Symantec was doing huge lay-offs, and Bradford ended up being one of the people, of hundreds, that lost their jobs during massive layoffs. I played the supporting partner, and tried to help him see the positive; he actually didn't like working there, he made only okay money, but after paying our monthly bills, and paying on our student loans it wasn't like we were putting tons of money in savings.

I've mentioned in a previous post having a plan of action for this time-- I comforted Bradford, we discussed things, and we were hoping that through Unemployment he qualified for a program; Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEA), wherein Bradford would essentially get paid for six months for working on Buckleberry Hoops, instead of the traditionally unemployment benefits.

The loop hole that ended up having him get denied qualification for any assistance after waiting from April 14th until June 25th, is apparently something to do with how many hours he worked in the time he was there. I don't really understand the ins and outs of everything, but it is hard news that Bradford went from working full time to losing his position to not being able to get unemployment.

And, it's hard for me too. I feel like a failure, because as we approach July we simply cannot pay our rent.

After Brad lost his job, I went to mine and asked for more hours, and asked to learn different positions at the restaurant to try and cross-train to hopefully pickup hours that way too. I went from working 10 to 15 hours a week, babysitting here and there, managing my home, and working on my side business to working just under 30 hours a week, babysitting here and there, learning to delegate my responsibilities at home (which Jess will really understand how difficult that has been for me), and teaching Bradford how Buckleberry Hoops works; slowly teaching him Customer Service, how to use Facebook to get back to customers sooner, explaining to him how I want my website to look (and in one month from June 19th the domain name for my website will be mine again), teaching him how to build hoops, and basic hoop principles as not to send him into the community with absolutely no knowledge.

Between working at Izzy's and Buckleberry Hoops (blog, and cooking included) I work about 55+ hours a week. I am tired. And, I feel confused-- everything my very conservative upbringing has taught me makes me feel like a lazy, good-for-nothing.

Bradford and I keep taking turns feeling downtrodden-- it's a depressing feeling.

I keep having to remind myself that Bradford moved here with what he could fit in his little two-door car and drove from West Virginia to Oregon only a few years ago. He had nothing, but his cat, Schrodinger, a blow-up mattress, a computer, and his clothing in plastic garbage sacks-- deciding to move here to pursue a Physics degree a year after his mother passed. I moved here recovering from a complete life over-haul. I've been in some constant state of mourning since November 2013.

Building a life together takes time, we've only been together a little over a year, and even though things are hard now, I just keep trying to remind myself that when it comes to money-issues, things always seemingly workout. But, I can't get over this deepening ingrained feeling of how my 30s should look.

I am not married. I have not completed my education. I do not have children, and most likely cannot have children-- that 75% chance of motherhood not happening for me sans medical assistance is looking more and more true since being told that in 2007. I don't have a fulfilling, sustaining personal business and career I love. I am no longer a size 10, and I am just now starting to feel comfortable in my body again after a long time of feeling completely broken. I have medical debt that would stop a normal, healthy person's heart from beating.

I am in debt, over-weight, barely holding on, and on the precipice of losing our apartment, because during the first few months of Brad being laid off we've lived off of my 20 to 29 hours a week at $9.25 a hour, along with our savings for relocating to Corvallis for Bradford's Fall term, and kept Buckleberry Hoops afloat (I made some money, but mostly broke even on a few investments).

Brad has been trying to find a job in Corvallis, but now his car-- our only means of transportation outside my bike, is in dire need of care, and we are worried that if he does get a relatively decent being job in Corvallis he won't be able to make it back and forth.

Complaint. Complaint. Complaint.

 I am just worried. It's not like my friends aren't in similar situations. Bradford is doing what he can to help us make the money we need for rent in the next three days. I am working. And, we'll get by What About Bob style with some baby steps.

Today, I am sad. Today, is for resetting. Today, I am going to nap, go to work at 5, and then retry tomorrow. But, for today, instead of letting the grief overwhelm me, I will take a nap with my love, we'll break from this constant stress, and deal with out problems head on together, after a much needed brief break.

Peace out.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I'm On The Pursuit of Hoopiness and I Know Everything That Shine Ain't Always Gonna Be Gold. Hey I'll Be Fine Once I Get It, Yeah, I'll Be Good

Yesterday was a good way to kick off the summer. Solstice was over the weekend, and now that we are in the best part of the year I feel super grateful, and feel full of summer time excitement. 

Skye and Keith had a photo shoot out in Wendling, an old mill town that has been abandoned since the 50's. There are old building, and free standing old structures consumed with old-growth amongst the forest Northeast of Marcola.

While Skye and Keith worked with Sam King, and Mirandi Davidson, two of the models that have been featured in the Baby's of the Northwest calendar that is put out every year by Radiance Photographics, I walked Juliet around.

After a good portion of the shooting was done, Keith and I were able to get a little more hooping footage-- this time using one of my LED hoops I was unable to use while camping. It was so much fun, however since I am the a giant wiener, having Keith direct me in climbing onto one of the old structures to hoop was scary.

To be honest, my anxiety over heights made the experience something else. Even though I really wasn't very high up, and I had enough space to do some tricks-- I felt really dizzy, and nervous about moving around. I trust Keith when he says he got some good shots, but felt really silly over my inability to perform the way I wanted to on camera.

We also got a couple good clips of me on the edge of a cement wall. I did a little better in that space clearing good hand to foot passes, a few tosses, and moving a little more freely.

I am so excited to see the next video Keith puts together. It is a wonderful blessing being able to work on these types of projects, and I love working with my friends, who just happen to be artists too. And, honestly, the more I do it, despite my weight gain-- I feel healthy, strong, sexy, and good.

Hooping is still providing a positive, safe space for me to love myself and my body unabashedly. And, I can't think of a more wonderful tool to get you by in life.

After Skye and Keith were done shooting pictures, and things quieted down, and there weren't any people present-- Skye, Keith, Miranda, Juliet, and I were all able to strip down and enjoy the great outdoors, swim, and be varying different levels of nude without feeling ashamed or embarrassed, because it was only us there.

It was freeing, wonderful. And, oh, so Oregon.

Today, I've felt motivated and inspired watching my friends' work. When Skye and Keith first started Radiance Photographics things were slow-going. Skye worked her ass off nailing down gigs for them, and watching their business blossom, along side the e-courses I've been taking from Sarah Jordan, I have felt empowered!

I sat down today with a To Do List and I started doing.

I contacted different venues for selling Buckleberry Hoops. I met with a few clients, and sold two hoops. I practiced for my upcoming performance for the Festival of Eugene, emailed a woman I've been talking to about doing private lessons for, asked Skye if I can send in one of the hooping on Hobbit Trails Beach as a submission for, started the preliminary plans for the next Flow Jam we'll be hosting and Bradford and I talked a lot about me learning to delegate a little more of Buckleberry Hoops' responsibilities to him, and his role as my new business partner.

There are some days I feel like I am adulting pretty good; I can balance my day job with my personal business, help manage a household with my partner, be an okay friend, be in love, and pseudo play responsible.

And, when we were ending today, I choose to be relatively healthy-- using things I had on hand I was able to create this masterpiece:
Zoodle Goodness
I was lucky to have two zucchini in the house, and from there it was just a matter of being creative. Bradford bought me this little handy toy a while back when it was on sale for $4.97 on Amazon Prime, and I couldn't be happier with this purchase.

It takes no time at all to make "noodles"

Two Zukes
I found some broccoli and basil pesto in my freezer from when we received our food box. And, after finding some left-over fresh onion and tomato in my fridge, and added in a hand-full of cashews I felt like I had made a complete meal-- vegetarian, gluten free, healthy, inexpensive.
Steamed after being in the fridge, and chilling to be put in the zoodles
Thank you, FOOD for Lane County

The recipe ended up being something like: Two Zuchinni zoodled up, 2 Tablespoon pesto, 1/2 cup steamed broccoli, palm full of cashews, slivered onion and diced tomato (to your liking), and a little salt and pepper to taste.

You could also add bacon, if you needed it. No judgement.

Anyways, I am going to end this with some random finds on my crappy, old point and shoot :)

Outside Swisshome just West of Triangle Lake
Sweet Creek Falls in Mapleton, Oregon
My man enjoying some Oregon (it's kinda a rarity since he's allergic to Oregon)
My favorite two year old in the world!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Some of the Greatest Mormon Slop to Ever Slop a Slop. Or, Something Like That.

So, the following recipe isn't one I make to be "healthy". I make it, because it's fucking delicious, easy, and cheap-- just like I like most of my nouns.

This recipe is kinda what I think of when I think of some of my experiences in Utah-- Utahns, especially LDSers love casseroles. A lot. I think it's a combination of things; it feeds a whole mess of people, it's inexpensive, and there aren't many dishes to speak of afterwards to deal with during clean-up.

Yep, White Chicken Enchiladas are the perfect comfort food, and whenever I make it, I have to deal with lots of compliments. It's horrible. :P

What you'll need:
Mmmm. Mormon meals
A big mixing bowl
A casserole dish (this recipe will fit a 9" x 9", or a 9" x 11" Pyrex, if you want to make a 9" x 13" double the recipe)
A mixing device (like a giant spoon, duh)
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 can shredded chicken breast
1 can diced chiles
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups cheese-- the original recipe I kinda copy-cated for this called for 1 cup Mozzarella, and 1 cup cheddar. I like to use whatever I have in my kitchen. Since we are broke we actually have a large bag of WinCo brand Mexican Blended Cheese already on hand. I spent less than $4 for the largest bag, ever.
Tortillas of your choosing. I always pickup locally made white tortillas, because they are an option at my WinCo. However, it's whatever you like.

Tear up your tortillas, and layer like a lasagna
What you'll do:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

In your mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients, and most of your cheese, reserving about 1/2 cup for the top of your White Chicken Enchiladas. In your Pyrex tear apart your tortillas and make a bed bed for your chicken/cheese mixture. You'll go back and forth, assembling your casserole like a lasagna.

Pop your enchilada slop into the oven for about 30 minutes, and make sure you keep an eye on it-- I have had these turnout perfectly every single time, but have been told by others attempting this recipe that there is a fine line between perfection, and rubbery cheesy melt disaster.

Serve a lone, or with beans and chips, or salad and rice. Do whatever. It's your life.
Anyways, I just wanted to share this, because it has become a Bradford favorite. And, since we received several of the ingredients in a Food Box at the beginning of the month we have made this twice this month, and neither of us have been too broken up about that. Normally, this meal costs my household a little less than $10 to make, and serves 4 HUGE servings (that's $2.50 a serving), but with FOOD for Lane County's assistance this ending up costing us a little less than $5 to make, twice.

You can make homemade comfort meals on a budget.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

"You've always been beautiful. Now you're just deciding to be healthier, fitter, faster, and stronger. Remember that."

January 29, 2015, Hobbit Beach, Florence, Oregon
Yesterday, Brad and I celebrated 273 incredible days of dating, or 9 months since our first date. Unfortunately, it looks like Brad caught whatever tummy bug I caught from the kids, so there was mostly a lot of resting going on around my house, but it was still terrific. 

My recent trip to Utah, matched with this monthly Anniversary celebrating we do, has given a deeper respect and understanding of the man I am with.

First, I feel like I should mention that Brad helped my trip be amazing, by simply letting me have it all to myself. 

My ex has some pretty extreme mental illness, and despite us no longer having a functional relationship last May everything was about him. All things last Spring was all about Marc, and how things effected him. So much so, that I very recently have been dealing with my resentment of him ruining my last days in Utah with my loved ones, and then later trying to paint it out as if they were our friends.

Last May while preparing to move things were incredibly grating and difficult, for a variety of reasons, the main one being I didn't have a second to myself, or a moment to even wrap things up with my family appropriately before moving from Utah to Oregon. I really feel that my recent trip, despite being short, really made up for some of the anger I felt about not saying goodbye the way I wanted to. 

Bradford missed me during my long weekend away, and I missed him. However, these emotions felt healthy, because I had no all consuming fears ever present in my mind while I wasn't with him during the duration of my trip. I didn't want to be with Brad to ensure his behavior continued being savory in my absence, I didn't have an all-consuming fear of him abusing drugs, or alcohol while I was cooking dinner for my family in another state. I didn't feel it necessary to worry about what he may be doing while I wasn't around. And, he didn't continually call, text, message, and hound me while I was away. 

 I guess, my deeper respect resonates with having this recent comparison in my mind. 

Before I left, Bradford and I both spoke with one another about some fears we had. Brad mentioned to me at one point, that while I was working one night he got this repeating scary thought in his head where he worried I would go to Utah, and decide to leave him to go back to overseeing Primrose Cottage and being responsible for Marc's general upkeep. Though, not rational, He was worried I would leave him for Marc while visiting Salt Lake City. I then told him my fear of being overly curious about the house. How badly I wish it was still my house, because I love it, and how I was worried I would run into Marc, and I would have little control of emotions, and would be unable to control my anger.

Just being able to verbalize these things with my partner feels like an unreal blessing.

Moreover, the last several months I have been blown away by the support I've received while addressing some of my immediate personal goals:
1) I am going in to take my written test for my Oregon license next week.
2) I have health insurance.

3) I have a list of therapists that take my insurance and their numbers so I can make an appointment.
4) I have brand new glasses, as all of my glasses have either bit the dust, or vanished over the last couple years. Hooray for seeing!
5) I have a new Polypro.
6) I am managing my own space, and helping Bradford prepare to rejoin the academic world.
7) I was able to take care of a bunch of legal stuff, and had my last letter on the 10th dismissing me from a mishap. 

8) I have a couch, kitchen table, small debts are being paid off (slowly but surely), and my kitchen is really coming together.
9) I have plans of building back up Buckleberry Hoops, especially in the Fall months as we settle into Corvallis living.
10) I have really focused on self-care the last two months over all other things. When I say 'self care' I don't just mean eating the right foods, or exercising a certain amount-- I wanted to place those goals on hold, and really focus on stressing less, and learning to manage my emotions a little better. 

***This was recently found in my draft box, and I felt I'd share since tomorrow (6-18-2015), is Bradford and I'd 1 year anniversary. 

Hashbrown, No Filter: Taboo Talk and the Truth About Miscarriages

Sometimes, the only way to make something less taboo is to talk about it. 

Chances are, you know someone dealing with infertility issues.

I read, somewhere once, that something like 7 million people, that's 1-in-8 adults of child-bearing years, in the United States suffer from infertility issues. And, according to the national estimates, roughly 15 to 20%, or 1-in-5, of all pregnancies in the United States end in miscarriage (miscarriage is defined as the loss of a fetus before the 20th week).

In the last three months, I have received about seven separate messages from women telling me about their miscarriage stories. Finding solace in the fact that I've been open about some of my past experiences-- honestly, when I read these women's messages I feel such deep sadness in my heart, because there is literally no one, not even me, can offer them to comfort them.

The truth is, miscarriages (and infertility, too, at times) is still taboo to talk about, even in 2015. And, miscarriages just happen.

The women in my life that have experienced pregnancy loss to any degree are often ashamed, or depressed to talk about that ugly time. And, then, at some point, it becomes no longer socially acceptable to mention that loss of life-- like even though you are the master of grief, and have moved on to deal with things on the daily, if you have a bad day and try to discuss it, somehow it gets turned into no being able to "let it go."

Well, fuck you, society, and fuck you too, Frozen.

The thing is, it's normal to feel jealous of other women, after experiencing this loss. The truth is, yes, some people do get tired of being sensitive towards someone dealing with an ongoing issue with no end in sight. The truth is sometimes you'll deal with religious rhetoric that doesn't sit well with your own personal beliefs, but you'll endure it to be nice to the person trying to offer you comfort. Truth is, sometimes you will find comfort in strange places, like I did in the blog entitled I Could Have A Baby And She Could Not.

The truth is, there will be times you won't be able to stand the jealousy you feel in your heart, feeling even worse for wanting to tell people to go take a flying leap into the infinite abyss, because they are experiencing complete joy, and all you've experienced is the absolute opposite.

It is normal to feel excited, and upset at every pregnancy and birth announcement-- you can be happy for your friends, and family, and still be sad for yourself, because the truth is couples eventually resolve infertility problems in one of these three ways: 

-They eventually conceive, and are able to carry the baby full-term.
-They choose to live without children.

-They find an alternative way to parent
Reaching a conclusion for what may work best for you, and your partner could take years, and, if you're dealing with miscarriage you, may also be thinking you may want to consider these three outcomes.

There are several websites, and blogs that help with Infertility Etiquette, but really what this really boils down to is, that it's taboo for women to discuss pregnancy, and infant loss, because it makes others uncomfortable, and it's taboo to discuss miscarriage-- a survey I read said that a majority of people believe that miscarriages only happen to less than 6% of the population, when it happens to 1-in-5 women here in the United States.

"It’s difficult to be a part of daily conversation where everyone is discussing having another baby, confiding whether they want a boy or a girl, how many they want altogether, and how they will decorate the new nursery room. To this day, no one seems to particularly care about my feelings. I find myself making some kind of snide remark or walking away altogether. My family seems to think I’ve always got a problem, but what they don’t seem to ever understand is that I just wanted another baby like each of them. You would think this would be such a simple concept." -Anon

Because, I'm rolling in the monies. 

It's time to make it less taboo, and start talking about it more often. Telling women to wait 12 weeks into their pregnancy to "announce" is great if that's what is best for them, but sometimes it isn't always the answer, because if and when a miscarriage may take place that makes that event something to kept a secret too. And, though mourning is personal, community support is vital to wellness, and wholeness. Often times, these losses are grieved quietly without a word to anyone.

It's my hopes that the more I talk the more other's will come to understand, like I have, my miscarriages are/were not my fault. And, maybe the more often we talk about it, the easier it maybe for people suffering from these losses to get to a place where they can accept that sometimes miscarriages just happen, and it's okay to mourn your loss, however is best for you-- and, not suffer in silence.

Break the silence: end the taboo, and talk about miscarriage, infant loss, and infertility.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

"Life's not a song, life isn't bliss, life is just this; it's living. You'll get along. The pain that you feel, you only can heal by living."

Dear Nicole, Alexander, and Ryan, You've been on my mind a lot, this happens from time to time for a variety of reasons, most of which I chalk up to the fact that you three were the biggest part of my life from 21 to 24. I love you three completely, wholly, honestly, and it's because of the relationship I fostered with you three that I am the person I am today. I hate that you three are hurting. I hate that you've lost something so big, and apart of yourselves that you'll be reeling from this blow for sometime-- probably the rest of your lives. I hate that the three of you have experienced so much more life than most people can even begin to fathom. I hate the selfish feelings I face whenever you three cross my mind.

I won't pretend that your mom and I's relationship was anything different than what it was before 2009. I know that you three witnessed a lot of ugliness between your parents and I, and though I can't speak for your mom and dad, and there is no need to rehash everything-- you need to know that I am sorry for any of the ugliness I played part of during that time.
Your momma and I started healing the wounds of that time together in 2009. Your mommy, Tonie, and I were never thick as thieves, but our friendship that we started to heal and build from has been so vital, and important to me, and in her memory I would like to share some of my feelings and memories of your mother. Tonie Lynn Sprague's birthday was May 23rd, the day before my mom's-- I always remembered it, and she always remembered my birthday too. She was vivacious, wild, full of character, and love. She struggled with her own demons, but she had a unique spirit, was thoughtful, and was always ready with a quick-witted comment. She loved the three of you more than anything. Was proud of all three of her children, and loved being a grandma.

And, I know I've said this to Alex, a million times, but I could never hate your mom, because she brought the three of you into this world, but I also could never bring myself to get along with your mommy during the time I dated your dad, because I really struggled with the idea of identifying with her. And, it's funny how differently I feel about your mom now at 31, then I did when I was 21.

Your mom has been supporting me, texting me, sending me pictures, messages, and love for years now. She has given me comfort when I needed it-- being a listening friend after my biological father, Cash, passed away, and doing the same, again, in April when my mommy passed away. She sometimes would message me telling me about the success she was finding in getting healthy and fit-- feeling proud, and good of herself, and telling me that I helped her with her journey. She would sometimes send me a picture of a round little baby with whatever silly caption tagged on with "For you Grandma Sarah!" 

She did not make me feel bad about being so hung up in losing out in having you guys in my life-- she comforted me, and told me, often, how fortunate she felt knowing how deeply I love you three. To quote my own mom, "There can never be too many people to love a child." Your mom embodied that spirit, and I grew to know that to be true the past ten years she's been apart of my life-- she loved all kids. She loved her monkey, Jim-Jim, baby Nicky, and Alexis. She sent Kieran, Liam, and Violet cards a couple times. And, I remember how elated she was when she had the opportunity to go visit Nicole and her littles in Arizona.

I am sad I can't hug and hold the three of you, but take great comfort in knowing that you have loving family with you. I am grateful for forgiveness at this time, and I grateful your mom and I had the opportunity to build our friendship-- that I was fortunate, and blessed enough to call her a friend. I am sorry for your loss, and I am so grateful for your mother, and for the three of you.

Yours, Sari

"If I have harmed anyone in any way either knowingly or unknowingly through my own confusions I ask their forgiveness.

If anyone has harmed me in any way either knowingly or unknowingly through their own confusion I forgive them.

And if there is a situation I am not yet ready to forgive I forgive myself for that. For all the ways that I harm myself, negate, doubt, belittle myself, judge or be unkind to myself through my own confusion I forgive myself."

Saturday, June 13, 2015

"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others." --Cicero

Today, I am taking a moment to take back a little bit of the power I've recently lost to silly anger. I am choosing a morning starting with a little writing time, and a great breakfast with eggs, bacon, coffee, eggs, hash browns, and toast. I am reminding myself of little pieces of happiness that spring up around my day, and in that spirit I am setting a goal to practice 365 days of gratitude.

"Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings." --William Arthur Ward

I am thinking of trying to make a gratitude jar, and/or share gratitude on my Facebook Wall a little more often. And, I have a lot of things to be grateful for, thankfully. I have seen so many positive changes in my personal life recently, that I simply don't have the time to waste on useless anger, and I sometimes have a hard time controlling my anger.

It's okay. I've kinda struggled with this sorta thing for years-- George Michael said it best; "it's hard to love, there's so much to hate," but really, any excuse to quote George Michael. Anyways, once you start getting angry over little things, it's easy to constantly be annoyed and angry over everything.

Baring in mind, that such extreme negatives can have ill effects on one's health I am nipping this in the butt before it becomes outta control.

So, today, day 1, I am grateful for good, healthy foods in my belly, having control over my actions giving me the ability to choose to change my attitude. I am also grateful for home care, full-body two hour long massages, and homemade Chicken Tikka Masala.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

I found God in myself/ And I loved her/ I loved her fiercely. --Ntozake Shange

Photographer, unknown-- random google image search find while googling; "Oregon night sky"

My boyfriend came and collected me from the forest this morning.

Sunday, after I got off work, I decided I needed to go camping, so on our way home from my work we stopped by Skye and Keith's house and I asked them if they just wanted go.

Brad stayed behind-- dying in the city of Eugene of allergies, as the mating of plants here in the Willamette Valley ruins his life, but he was still instrumental in the success of this random trip. We took Juliet while Skye and Keith finished laundry for their mom (she's a University of Oregon student), and grocery shopped for her and our camping trip. Brad and I, did some light shopping for snacks, packed the few things I would need, and then Bradford loaded the car, and drove me and the baby up to Fall Creek, and I spent some time in the deep green heart of Oregon with two of my close friends and their perfect angel-baby.

We ended up at Broken Bowl Campground, and it was beautiful.

For two nights in a row, I got to lay on my back on the forest floor looking up at the old-growth and stars, with a tiny water fall within sight, as I fell asleep. It was comforting. It was summer. It was home.

We ate good, simple foods, and tons of junk food too-- I mean, according to Theya (my friend, and my friend's older sister) all camping is is eating in the woods.

We swam, and drank, and smiled, laughed, took walks in the woods, scaled river rocks, hula hooped, danced, sang, took some LED stills, got some hooping video footage, Keith caught (1) Crayfish, and Skye cooked delicious things on an open fire.

Today's shower, back home, was glorious, and my sweet-man has us locked up in our bedroom for the day-- he had a harder time sleeping in my absence. Not to mention he was hot, bored, and missed me terribly. So, we ordered a little food (we had a coupon, huzzah!), darkened the windows, hooked the AC up in our little room, brought the TV in, and I've been listening to him catch up on sleep. Every once in a while he reaches out and I'll grab his hand and he smiles, says 'I love you,' and quickly goes back to snoring.

I went from two extreme opposites. From the beautiful outdoors that resonate with my soul, to being locked up in my apartment, grossly in love...with my air conditioner. (And, my boyfriend).  <3

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Living, on a "budget."

There is no hiding the fact that we are currently using certain programs offered to help low-income families. There is also no hiding the fact that society has a stigma about people on low-income assistance. I've mentioned in a previous post wanting to focus on eating better sharing my experiences of eating healthy while using Public Assistance-- showing the things I receive when I need aid from Food From Lane County, and the things I do with my limited SNAP budget. 

It's my hopes that I'll be able to educate myself and others, and shatter stereotypes-- I don't want to be on public assistance, and the people I know that are currently using public assistance are grateful, utilizing what's available to them to better their situation, and move away from it once it's no longer needed.

Read this, because this little cartoon does a GREAT job explaining privilege. 

So, here's a little about our current situation-- my partner lost his job, and we've been waiting for a denial and/or acceptance letter for unemployment since he lost his job in April, I work as many hours as I can at my job, but with my health condition it is sometimes really hard to have STEADY hours, so they vary anywhere from thirty hours a week to ten hours a week, at $9.25 an hour.

With everything going on, I continue to try and get Buckleberry Hoops running, pursuing my goals of someday teaching, and performing...sometimes, Buckleberry Hoops isn't a lucrative, but an expensive hobby, just depending on how well things are going.

Keeping that in mind, while we are waiting for Bradford's assistance to kick in we are both living as best we can with what we do have. I get $192 a month for SNAP benefits-- at three meals a day, 30 days a month that's about $2.13 I have to spend on a meal, just for myself. My SNAP benefits do not include my partner since we are waiting on his benefits.

Food For Lane County allows families to receive up to one food box a month, and you're allowed two extra boxes during the year, in case of an emergency. Since moving to Eugene in May 2014, I have received an emergency food box from our local pantry three times (you know, because people abuse the system).

Here's a look at what we received in yesterday's food box:

Food For Lane County Emergency Food Box
Lots of frozen and dried goods, with some fresh things to supplement

Not only did we receive a lot of really awesome things (two pounds ground chicken, loaf of local wheat bread, cereals, beans, rice, organic local beets, blanched frozen veggies such as corn, green beans, and a mixed veggie, peanut butter, almond butter, Annie's Mac & Cheese, Nancy's Yogurt, pastas, plus snackies, etc, etc), but we also were lucky, because the OSU Extension was at our pantry the other morning giving out free information-- a little cookbook, a couple recipe sheets, and also some information on the a program St. Vincent de Paul offers to people that are on SNAP. 

I've collected additional information to share, unfortunately, living like an artist has made it difficult to find everything. At my local WinCo there is a store map, showing you where everything is laid out-- they offer recipes in their bulk food section, and at the front of the store with coupons attached. I'll be sharing those as soon as I can.

Until then, after putting away the food from the food box, I sat down after looking through the food I have on hand and came up with a few meal ideas for the next few days. We have eggs, cereals, different granola, yogurts, 1% milk and soy milk alongside a few hot cereals-- so that takes care of us for breakfasts for quite sometime. Here are some of the meals we will be able to make thanks to the extra help we got this month:
Bow-tie pasta with Tomato sauce
Pinto Beans and Cornbread
Veggie Stir-fry over brown rice
lentils & barely, roasted beets, and fresh oranges
Bean burritos
10 Bean Soup
White Chicken Enchiladas
Almond Butter Sandwiches, soup, and applesauce

I know it's not tons and tons of ideas-- however, these are the things I am able to make, because of the food I received for free. And, lemme tell you the food we are able to put together from this list aren't bad at all! Mind you, as I purchase things from the grocery store after this coming up weekend the menu will expand, and include other things-- I received my SNAP benefits today, but would like to use what we have in the house first before buying unnecessary things. And, I will continue using the dry things I got yesterday for the remainder of the month, for example, with all the plain yogurt we currently have I know I will be making yogurt cheese, which means homemade smears, and Indian curries in our near future. 

Stir-fry veggies over brown rice with a little sriracha on top

So, so grateful that we were able to make this because of local programs!
Brown Rice
1 cup brown rice to every 1.5 cup water into the rice cooker

Veggie Stir-fry
First I steamed the frozen veggies, then adding it to a non-stick pan with a little fat (evoo, sesame oil, butter, whatever floats your boat). Cook at Medium-High heat for about 5-8 minutes stir every so often. Top with salt and pepper if desired-- I like to put a little sriracha on top.

I hope this helps others in our situation, or similar situations. I will be trying to post recipes as I go along...<3

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Adulting For Three: Codependency vs. Family

Once upon a time, someone voiced that she felt Jess and I's relationship was "unhealthy," "not normal," and "codependent."

In my opinion that person didn't know Jess, Ian, the kids, and myself well enough to make that call, however since then there have been a few times Jess has mentioned struggling with the idea of codependency.

Codependent relationships are a type of dysfunctional "helping" relationship where one person supports or enables another person's addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement.

The dynamics of The Compound; our home, the place that houses our family, are not normal-- there is no denying that, but I can honestly say that I have never been healthier than when living in that home. And I've never experienced the same level of independence and freedom anywhere else outside of The Compound.

And, I think, the family dynamic we all had (have) living together under one roof provided the support we each needed to be able to pursue our own personal interests, while providing the three babies the love, attention, education, and space to be who they are as well. I think, often times, people don't see the balance in our family, because midwifery is the type of profession that demands, not just our family's backing, but EVERYONE'S.

But, this blog post isn't about midwifery, or the role I play supporting a midwife. This blog post is mostly about how being apart of a functioning family as an adult has improved my life, and has freed me to pursue my own goals, and the ability to be happy without guilt-- and, this is true for each member of our family.

Like I had mentioned in my last blog entry:
"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, three are both an abundance of all things available, and an optimization in the efficiency of their use."
But, it's so much more than that once you allow yourself to open your heart and your mind up to the possibility that family isn't just biology and happenstance. And, once you're at that point, it is just a matter of learning that there is no one persons' needs that are more important than another persons'.

I've known Jessica and Ian since 2004, and have lived with them nearly six years out of our eleven year friendship-- it hasn't always been easy, but the solutions to any problems that rear their ugly heads are generally easy to solve; communication. I don't think Jess and Ian could share their home, their kids, food, private time with one another, and so much more with me if we weren't able to talk.

It sounds so simple. Talking. Talking is what has made my best friend so much more than that to me. The three of us have been co-parents; all caring deeply, and loving the three children in our care. The three of us have been able to support our individual interests; Ian's music (off and on), Jess' work, and my hooping-- all while homeschooling three children, raising chickens, rabbits, cats, and our own food.

I think that our friendship has taught each of us a great deal about mental illness in adults-- and how differently it can influence a life. And, it's because of that our children are being raised with great sensitivity and empathy, along side understanding humor, listening, and being able to use their intuition matched with the building blocks of common sense to be allowed the freedom to be silly, and act their age without prematurely growing up, or in the same breath acting like imbecile (meaning, they know how to use their manners while still being 11, 8. and 5).

Once more, even with our current distance, we continue to have that close family connection-- regardless of how much, or how little we call one another. Our kinship may not be "normal," but I think the assumption that it's unhealthy, or codependent is just whack (or jealousy)!

March 2015

May 2011

Ovulation X is love
February 2014

Kieran's 10th birthday
  1. Jess and Ian 2013