Inspiration and Relaxation in the New Place

We have been at the new place for a little more than two months. A lot of things have been completed and in the list of things that we need to do just keeps growing. Work is never done.

We have started building screens for all the windows that have been without so we can open the windows. I thought living in a brick house would help keep it insulated and cool, but it turns out that brick seems to absorbs heat. So in the interest of not killing each other due to heat we bought a window a/c unit. I try not to use it if possible because of the use of electricity, but it has been necessary more days than not so far.

We have also started building our raised garden beds. Once we built them I had 5 tons of top soil with 10% compost amendment delivered. It was so much cheaper and less time consuming then the bagged stuff found at the local home improvement stores at $40.12 a ton. Plus we got to support a local business, which I always like. We didn’t have quite enough to completely fill all the beds we built, but enough to get some late start stuff in the dirt before the season is over. Until we design and start building a greenhouse we will create hoop houses over the raised beds to get things started for next year.

This is the first bed built by my boyfriend.

This is the first bed built by my boyfriend.

My boyfriend built panel sides in the shade of the garage so we could just bring them into the yard and  screw them together.

My boyfriend built panel sides in the shade of the garage so we could just bring them into the yard and screw them together.

We lined the bottom and sides with cardboard to keep down the grass/weeds. We just laid these beds on top and didn't till any of the underneath. You can also see the tarp that we are waiting to put dirt on.

We lined the bottom and sides with cardboard to keep down the grass/weeds. We just laid these beds on top and didn’t till any of the underneath. There is a  tarp in the background to put dirt on.

The 5 tons of dirt arrived. You can see the comparison with the house in the background and the beds waiting.

The 5 tons of dirt arrived. You can see the comparison with the house in the background and the beds waiting.

We had more dirt then beds so we built a few more.

We had more dirt then beds so we built a few more.

So we have used as much dirt as possible to fill the beds. It wasn't quite enough, but that is ok.

So we have used as much dirt as possible to fill the beds. It wasn’t quite enough, but that is ok.

In the last picture you can see that we have transplanted a few tomatoes that we had in the ground. They were doing ok, but not getting any bigger. There are also tomatoes in the white buckets. They got beaten up by the last hail storm we had about a week or two ago, so we will see if they come back. To give you an idea on size, the corner bed on the right is 8′ long on the long size. The two detached rectangular boxes are 8’x4′. I think this is a decent start in a new place. On the other side of the rectangular 8’x4′ on the right I am going to start my asparagus bed. From my understanding they take a lot of space and several years to get going, but once established can last 30 years or more. I have the space and nothing but time.

We have also started doing simple sustainable things in the kitchen, like making pickles from cucumbers bought at the local farmers market. Unfortunately in the small town we are in that means about 4 vendors. We have also started making our own bread from scratch. But it is so good that we eat almost a loaf a day. It is so good! To be clear, when I say we have made pickles and bread, I mean my mom has. I have dubbed her the official pickle and bread maker.

Mom's Pickles

Mom’s Pickles

The new house in the new town is so relaxing. It has also inspired the ability to unplug. We don’t watch as much television out here. We like to sit on the porch. We have been taking the dogs for a walk around the park that is a block away. We eat dinner at the kitchen table. It has helped us get more creative. Mom has been sewing. My boyfriend, Jason, got a 3D printer for his birthday and is using it to fix tools, print little fun stuff for me, and to build a walking robot, We’ll see how that goes. For me I have been inspired to write, color, I am going to start a fairy garden with supplies I am gathering, and I am going to start learning how to do wood carvings. I got a couple knives and am going to practice with Ivory soap that I can then use in my laundry detergent.

We have also repotted several things. The avocado tree got a bigger pot. I am not sure how well it will do since it is growing taller but not much bigger around so there is no support structure. The top is flopping over. The dwarf banana also got a new home. It seems happy. The orange tree stayed where it is because it seems just fine where it is, it is even getting a little fruit on it. I am not sure if I should leave it there or what to do with it. I will have to do some more research. I have promised my family I wouldn’t buy anymore houseplants and instead I am concentrating on the ones we have.

Projects we having coming up before winter are to build a shed for the riding lawn mower and yard implements and to put a fence around the property. As you can tell from the pictures, that is a lot of fence. And because we are in the city and it is our front yard it can only be 3 feet high. So we will be doing a fence that is wood framed with wire. I will post pictures when we are done. In the meantime we have already hired a property surveyor that came out and staked the property lines. It was expensive, but better than having angry neighbors or land feuds.

Until next time!


From the New Place

We are finally in Sterling, CO! We moved here about a month ago and it has been a whirlwind. Instead of renting out my old house I decided to sell it. I don’t deal well with stress and it tends to manifest itself in physical ways with me, so for my sanity I sold it. In the Denver area it didn’t take long. I listed it on the 17th of June and got an all cash offer with a quick close on the 18th. So we close on Tuesday the 30th and that will be that. I’m really looking forward to being done with that.

So far in Sterling we haven’t really been able to accomplish much because we were working so hard to get the other house ready to sell. We have still managed to plant a few tomato plants, lavender, garden sage, and flowers. I’m not sure if we will get anything else into the ground this year.

The bugs are so horrible out here, I wasn’t prepared for that. Plus it pretty much rained for a month so the river nearby is really high and the neighboring fields to that are flooded. When we first got here we had moths, mosquitos, and gnats. Now we have mosquitos, gnats, and wasps. We had to clean out a lot of the overgrown brush where all the things are living and it seemed to help a little. It is a constant battle in this house for territory with us and spiders. But we are winning. Yay to old homes.

The list of things to do is growing constantly. This house has old slider windows with rope and weights. Due to the moisture they aren’t sliding right. I am sure that also has something to do with the years of paint on them and the fact that the interior rope is old. One of the things we are going to do is take those out, re-rope them, sand them and repaint them. They also need exterior screens and storm windows for the winter, which are separate pieces. I will take pictures and post them as we work on that project.

We are also going to build a shed for all of our lawn equipment. The garage will be used as a work space. And I will begin to do research on greenhouses, because I would like one of those as well.

I also have enough space in this house to have a meditation area. I haven’t had one before but it is something I am starting to explore and it has been helping. So I am working on setting that up as well.

I will be posting more pictures of progress as we start working on things. I’m really excited about it!

Have a great week!


Panic & Anxiety Attacks & My Natural Healing Quest

I have debated about writing about this. Not knowing where to start or how to truly describe my feelings. I also don’t want my blog to be a diary full of whining but more a journal of experiences and learning. But that is what this is.

Since I started my new job in November of 2014 I have been having panic and anxiety attacks. Some so severe, with crying, shaking, racing heart, sweaty palms, hyperventilating, and the mortal terror that comes along with it. Some attacks are not as bad, more of just adrenaline rush. You can google the symptoms of both, I don’t really want to go into that here.

So after a month or so of just trying to push through these things I finally started calling in sick to my new job because the attacks were getting bad. I finally went to the doctor. I haven’t been shy with this situation with family or friends, I want them to know. The doctor prescribed Paxil and Xanax. I used to suffer from depression, anxiety, and insomnia. I took all sorts of drugs to help me be calm, sleep, get through the day. This ended more 6 years ago when I that I didn’t want to drug myself to get through life. I quit that job and stopped taking all those medications. That’s why I am working toward a sustainable life, so I can be happy and have a happy life. I want my days to be filled with things I want to do, not feel I have to do. I have decided not to take the meds this doctor prescribed. But I don’t want to quit this job either because in all honesty, it isn’t a bad job.

Instead, I want to treat the cause of these attacks, not the symptoms. I want to work through the issue and be able to work this job as it will allow me the time and funds to pursue my other goals. I am going to learn meditation, yoga (as long as I can get around the vertigo), Reiki, essential oils, herbs, and aromatherapy. I know nothing about most of this, a little about Reiki. So part of my blog is going to include my learning about these other things. I hope that it helps you, I know it will help me.

To start off, I have a great friend who is a Reiki Master. Years ago she began to teach me, but she had to move out of state and when she left I stopped practicing. She has recently moved back to Colorado so hopefully we can get back to that. If you don’t know, Reiki is the practice of using gentle touch therapy to use the energy flow from the Earth to the person in hopes of promoting the healing of spirit, mind, and body. This is an incredibly brief and simplistic definition, so don’t take it as gospel. Again, I stopped practicing so don’t remember a whole lot.

My friend, my Reiki Master, would always ‘smudge’ the space we were using with a combination of white sage, cedar, and sweetgrass dried herbs in an abalone shell. Several weeks ago I also purchased these items to start building my collection. That and the act of a routine helps me deal with the attacks. As I relearn my Reiki, I will also start practicing meditation. I will burn these same herbs for that.

I realized that scents really help calm me. I thought aromatherapy might be the way to go. I bought a sage smudge mist from Ja’mi Products so I don’t always fill my office with smoke. Sometimes I spray that instead. I also remembered that I had essential oils and a diffuser. But the oils were really old, mostly evaporated. I needed to get new ones but because I am new to this I didn’t want to spend a whole lot of money. After doing some research I ordered from Eden Gardens. There are many things in life where you get what you pay for, but so far Eden Gardens seems like a good company with a good product.

Because my initial reason for learning this was due to the panic and anxiety attacks I wanted to start off with oils for stress relief and relaxation. I started by ordering those essential oil blends from Eden. The stress relief oil is a ‘blend of bergamot, blood orange, grapefruit, patchouli, and ylang ylang is fruity, earthy and floral.’ The relaxation oil is a blend of chamomile, geranium, lavender, mandarin, marjoram, and patchouli is sweet, floral, citrusy and earthy.’ They are both super strong and I think starting off with a blend was a bad idea since I don’t know what I like and don’t like. I think it is the patchouli oil. I’m not a fan. I only tried one of them, I don’t remember which one, and didn’t like it. So they are in a plastic baggie to mask the smell in my little oil cabinet.

So I went back and ordered clary sage, lavender, tea tree, cedarwood, and lemongrass. All scents I know I like. I also ordered a carrier oil because I read somewhere that those are needed to dilute the oils for some uses. I ordered hemp seed oil. Yesterday I used the clary sage in the diffuser. I put 10 drops in the water. It smelled good, relaxing, but was overwhelming. I think I will try 5 drops next time.

What little research and discussion I have done with friends I know that oils and herbs have many uses. I hope to learn as much as possible about this, not only to help with the panic and anxiety attacks, but other areas of life. To be healthy and happy in general. Another great friend gave me some valerian root which is a natural relaxant. That is my issue with medications for depression. Most of them take weeks to build up in your system to work, then if they don’t it takes weeks to try something new. And then if you stop taking them it takes weeks to feel normal again, if you ever felt that way at all.

I am excited about learning this. As far as the job goes, I decided to work 30 hours a week for now. I work 6 hour shifts, makes going to work much easier. Plus I work from home, so no biggie. Have a great day!

New Year, New Blog, New Goals

Hello and Happy New Year! It is that time of year again when people make resolutions to improve themselves, change their habits, save their money. I don’t like resolutions, I think they set you up for failure because after all no one will be surprised if you break a resolution, every one does. However, I am making changes anyway. They are not resolutions, just new things starting next month. Starting tomorrow.

In the past I have suffered with depression, anxiety, panic attacks. My job history isn’t the best. I honestly don’t like working to pay bills that I don’t need. So over the past couple of years I have worked hard to work through my depression and anxiety and to pay off debt. I currently have a little credit card debit that will be paid off with taxes (again) and my student loan. I also own my own home (well the bank does). Other than that I am free.

I live with my mother and my boyfriend and we just bought a house in a small town that is less expensive. This summer, once my son graduates high school, we will move into that new house, start our garden and work toward a sustainable life. I’m thinking I will rent out my current house to earn a little money through that as well.

I want my blog to be about that journey. It is going to be trial and error. That and our new house was built in 1925, so there is work to be done.

2015 is going to be a year of change and growth. While I am sure there will be bumps along the way I know it will be worth it. 🙂  I hope you will join me for the journey. Learn with me. Share experiences and advice. See you all in the new year!

Lacking Inspiration, Needing Structure

It has now been a month since I have posted anything to my blog. NaNoWriMo is upon us. To be honest with you and with myself I will state that I haven’t really written a single word. I have pondered, come up with a much more solid outline, have a better idea on where I want my story to go and what steps I want to take to move that way. But I can’t seem to write.

It is going to sound like an excuse. But in all honesty I started a new job that has taken up my time and energy. I’m trying to figure out how to balance this. The new job is a work at home customer service position. So I am spending 8+ hours a day in my office working. It is hard to be here to write for NaNoWriMo as well.

So I have decided that I needed to schedule my day. I am finally out of training for the new job and I get to start my schedule. It is one that will allow me the time to write everyday. If I can get over the fact that I cannot wait for inspiration and need to just do the work 🙂 I will wake up at the same time everyday, sit down to write for myself from at least 9am-11am, then get out of my office for a couple hours before coming back to work.

My overall goal is to become a published writer. One that can make a living at writing. I know many say this, but it’s what I want. I think the structure of a schedule will help.

Any writers out there have any advice? Suggestions? Words of encouragement? Please tell me how to get out of the corporate world sooner rather than later…..

NaNoWriMo is in November

For those of you that don’t know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. I said early on in my blogging that one reason I am doing this is to help develop my skills as a writer because my ultimate goal is to write a novel someday. Well, actually I want to write a lot of novels, but let’s start with one.

NaNoWriMo is a nonprofit organization who’s goal is to help writers write. The goal is for every writer to put out 50,000 words in the month of November. That is just under 1700 words every day. There is no pressure, no one is checking in with you. You can track your words and get pep talks. There is no need to share what you have written, it is more of a helping hand with motivation.

I have had a story idea floating around in my head for about 15 years. I haven’t written anything other than research papers for years. This idea has morphed quite a bit since I first started thinking about it and I want to stop thinking. Time to start doing. One of the things that has held me back is fear. Fear that people won’t read or like my story. Fear that people will be mean in their criticisms. Fear that I will spend hours, days, weeks, months, years on a story and never have it published and that it is all a waste of time. Fear that I am writing something so similar to someone else’s that they will be indistinguishable. Fear that this is a silly dream because lots of people want to become writers and I am no better than they are.

But now I have a fear that my fears are holding me back. I don’t want to wonder ‘what if?’ in the future. I don’t care if people won’t like my story, in fact I know some won’t and that’s okay. I no longer fear its a waste of my time because I have been thinking about this for 15 years already. I should spend another few months or year actually writing it down and seeing what happens. I don’t fear my story is like someone else’s. There are a lot of similar things, no truly original ideas. It’s all about writing, perspective, characters, and tone that make things different.

So I finally started telling people what my story idea is about. It’s still fairly basic, but that’s ok. That is one reason I signed up for NaNoWriMo, to get it out. That is why I am telling you. I want to be a writer. I am going to work hard at becoming one. Yay me!

Check out NaNoWriMo if you haven’t heard of it before. It’s sort of cool.


Subscription Boxes – September 2014

My boyfriend recently subscribed to the thing called Loot Crate. I’m not sure if you have heard of it, but you pay a monthly fee, around $20 (or more depending on the subscription) and once a month a box is delivered that is a grab bag of sorts full of goodies. It’s possible this is a total waste of money, but it is fun. It also guarantees that no matter what is going on in life, once a month you will get a package of gifts, just for you. Or you can give them to friends. It’s all whimsy to me.

This past Monday, the 22nd, his first Loot Crate arrived. He wasn’t home so I plucked it off the steps. I’m not good with packages. Curiosity usually gets the best off me. Even in 1994 when, as my mother snored softly in her bedroom, I unwrapped every single one of my Christmas presents to see what awaited me and then carefully wrapped them back up. I cannot even begin to tell you the disappointment I felt on Christmas morning when there were no surprises under that tree. I remember that year because I got a Caboodle and put the year on it with stickers. She felt deflated also because her snotty daughter showed no genuine gratitude toward any of it. I’m sorry, Mom. But I did learn my lesson and never peaked again.

Not even when my boyfriend’s package arrived. Although after telling him it was here he let me open it. Loot Crate is geek and gamer stuff. Each month has a theme and then goodies are shipped off to reflect that theme. I am going to post pictures, so I apologize if this spoils it for anyone.

Sept Loot Crate goodies.

Sept Loot Crate goodies.

As you can see this month’s loot included a Hans Solo in carbonite poster, a Star Trek Tribble (which instructs on the package not to open and not to feed), an Alien, Firefly currency, a mystery mini toy, Pop Rocks, and some other information. Pretty fun stuff.

Mystery Mini - Mal from Firefly

Mystery Mini – Mal from Firefly



Alien - ahhhh!

Alien – ahhhh!

The problem is now I want one. But I can’t get Loot Crate or we would get two of the same thing in the house. So I did some searching the morning and found there are a lot of different subscription boxes out there to choose from, depending on what you are interested in. There are boxes for crafts, pets, kids, tea, makeup, wine, jerky, candles, adult time, shaving for men, and pretty much anything you can think of. None of these really appeal to me and unfortunately I couldn’t find one that was geared toward sustainable living or steam punk. But I did find one… okay, two…. that I think look fun. Nerd Block and Horror Block. Similar, but they include different genres of stuff. I couldn’t decide, so I went with both. It’s a monthly thing and after one or two if I like one block over the other I can cancel. Next month I will post on all of them. Horror Block doesn’t ship until October 25th, so I will probably post the first week in November, give everyone a chance to get theirs before I spoil the surprise.

Here is a decent link to find boxes, if you are after a bit of whimsy for yourself. Let me know if you subscribe to any and what you think.