New Year, New Goals

2016 totally got away from me. I’m not sure how, one minute I was writing a post on this blog in May, the next thing I knew it was 2017.

Last year was a pretty great year for me. I spent a lot of time alone, with my thoughts and ideas. I got to wrap myself in creative pursuits, even though I didn’t progress on them nearly as much as I had planned.

I was really hoping to review and edit the first draft of the novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo in 2015 and that just didn’t happen. It wasn’t a good draft and I didn’t know how to fix it. I read several books on writing dealing with editing, scene and structure, description, character traits, viewpoints, and dialogue; but all that did was cause me to panic a little and realize how bad that draft really was. So, after much heart ache and debate, I decided to start over. So then I pondered my story for months. Writing is really difficult. I kept waiting for inspiration to hit and cause my fingers to fly over the keys coming up with the next New York Times Bestseller. But I got bupkis, nada, nothing, zilch. Apparently writing takes work, and lots of it.

So the goal for this year is to get super serious about putting in that work. Right now I would say that my writing is like a toddler, I have things I would like to describe and talk about but the works won’t come, so instead I throw my sippy cup down and have myself a nice littleĀ tantrum. That toddler idea is not mine, it came from this great article:

http://lithub.com/how-to-be-a-writer-10-tips-from-rebecca-solnit/#

My personal goal for writing is 500 words a day. I don’t think those necessarily need to be on one story. It could be a variety of things, including this blog. The idea is just to keep practicing and learning and moving forward toward the goal of a finished draft of a novel to submit for review and hopeful publication.

I am also hoping to read 20 books this year. I joined the reading challenge through Goodreads and will track books there. I will also post book reviews here. Last year I tried 20 books but I joined late and only got 12. Better luck this year!

And of course there are gardening goals as well. We shall start planning that in the next few weeks. Yay veggies!

Anyway, I should get to it. Have a great new year and I will talk to everyone soon!

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It’s been too long!

Wow! I hadn’t realized it had been so long since I posted on my blog. What the heck?

I won NaNoWriMo and came in with just over 50k words! Yay me šŸ™‚ I then took December ‘off’ and read some books on writing in hopes that my revisions would go smoothly. It didn’t help. I have been struggling with it since. I really need to get my story to at least 80k words. After 5 months of working on it I am only at 59k. Are there any other writers out there that can give me tips on how to stay focused? Any advice or suggestions would help.

Other than that it is now spring! So we have been working on our garden. We started seeds for tomatoes and peppers. The tomatoes are happy, the peppers are not as happy. We should be planting them in the ground outside over Memorial Day weekend, so we will see how that goes. I will be sure to post pictures when that happens.

In our new backyard we are making a flower garden. My mother really wants one and I love color and whimsy. We have years to make this place ours and anyone who has a place of their own is probably very familiar with the fact that you can’t do it all at once and it takes time.

I am looking forward to growing vegetables for food and flowers for beauty.

Pictures coming soon!

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 aĀ Ā 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!

Tara

Spring is Here!

So spring is showing its warmth in Colorado. I have no idea what is really going to be on the agenda for my garden this year. I am in the middle of moving from my suburban house in Aurora, CO, to my older house with a little more land in Sterling, CO. The climate is different there. It is farther away from the mountains and is much more prairie like. It is windier and a little more humid. I am sort of happy that I wasn’t all that great at gardening in Aurora since I have to learn all new things when we move.

We aren’t moving until the end of May, so I will also be getting a lateĀ start on things. Plus, the one thing that is left out of a lot of information, setting up a new garden can be pricey. We are going to do it a little slower since the point is sustainable living and not spending money on what we don’t have too. We will be moving the raised garden beds and the really expensive dirt we created a couple of years ago. We are also taking the several hundred pounds of flagstone that we have. I know I can find a use for it and since it is expensive stuff I am hauling it with me.

For good news, residents of Colorado may be able to start collecting rainwater! This would be awesome for my garden. The idea is going through the legal channels right now, so let’s keep our fingers crossed!

Yay Spring!

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 canĀ 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.Ā 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 pastĀ 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. šŸ™‚ Ā I hope you will join me for the journey. Learn with me. Share experiences and advice. See you all in the new year!