May 29, 2007


Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.
So throw off the bowlines.
Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails.

– Mark Twain

I'm back...sort of. For those that missed it, I left last Thursday morning before any sane individual should be awake and began a long drive, some 1400 miles, to Nebraska. Four days later, on Sunday night at 9:00 pm, I arrived home again, a little different than before.
Any journey claims a part of your soul, but, in it's place it leaves a newness. A part that didn't exist in such reality before. Travel makes a person more whole than they were. Before I left, I felt a hole, an emptiness that had be festering in me for some time. I often speak of finding life in the simplicity of life, but, on this fast-paced long-distance jaunt across the country I found a little bit of life in complexity. Maybe the two aren't so far apart. Or, maybe they are so far apart that they meet again like north meets south at the apex of our little planet.
Any quest that takes you past the front door has the potential to change your worldview forever. Once again, I found that seeing new places and meeting new people was like breathing fresh air after a long dive under water. I had never before drank in the beautiful expanse of prairie that lies between Utah and Iowa. Wyoming was enormously empty. Nebraska, like another world.
I spent one evening eating at a local steak house. My Father, Friend, and I sat in a booth surrounded by local wait staff that had never met anyone from New Jersey or California. They weren't sure how to take us. They gazed at us as we belly laughed over humorous observations and long-winded tall tales. They engaged us on the most touristy banter we could summon. Most of all, they had fun as we did. It never ceases to amaze me that no matter how far one goes from home, there are familiar people always at hand. Humankind is built so well to co-exist, but, we fight it in the most horrible ways. Each time I go somewhere new and meet someone new I realize that I've met them before and I don't want to leave them behind again.
I drove to Nebraska, but the journey was going a slightly longer route. Take the long way home from somewhere today and see what I mean.

*On a further note...I am beginning another journey on Friday. I will be joining thousands of other aspiring screewriters in Script Frenzy, a thirty day marathon to a finished script. I will be blogging about the mania at The Rhythm Journal. Please swing by and help me stay motivated.

A treasure on the roadside

More karmic garage sale finds!

I have wanted some artwork in the living room for a while and just couldn't find anything unique enough to make me put it up. I wanted something meaningful- but not hokey.

I also have been wanting to collect old paint by numbers pieces- but havent found any that I liked yet.

Saturday I was in town and spotted this at a garage sale. I hit the brakes and hopped out- the lady told me I could have it for $2!!!

I love it- it's exactly what I wanted and matches my house perfectly!

Home as inspiration

This statement has not exactly desrcibed where I live. Perhaps "Home as frustration" or, "Home as a lesson in character building" would be better for describing how I've felt about this place.

I've wanted to be an artist all my life, but I've never found my niche- I hope to someday. And I hope that my home would be a place I could be inspired to experiment and practice.

I always pictured myself with a studio and a big garden with funky sculptures. This would be where I could create. Well- there is no studio here- no place to put one. Not even a corner for my easel or a desk where I could sketch or sew or paint. I tend to feel sorry for myself with this.

As I learn to live in this small space, I am realizing I cant keep waiting to make it my space- the place I've dreamed of.

This last weekend, Matt was gone and I decided, since we had the paint and flooring already, I was going to redo our upstairs bathroom. I had some help from my friend, and from my mom- and I love the way it turned out.

The project inspired me to get out my brush and start creating a little.

And I moved downstairs to the other bathroom which was brightly painted but really lacked personality.

I went a little buckwild- but I never questioned myself and just went for it- and I like it!

Now, the rest of the house is trashed, but, hey, I'm catching a vision here!!!

The good thing about painting like this is that is cost almost no $$- I always have craft paint around.

May 25, 2007


So much of this whole journey we're on is messing with our identities. All the failures and successes with doing the Compact and just trying to ditch consumerism has meant that Matt and I have had to take a hard look at ourselves.

My first reaction? Yikes.

But I feel like I'm starting to come into myself- I think.

For me, I have lumped my indentity mostly in what other people think of me. I thought I had it tied up in "stuff" mostly, but no, I'm sure now that the whole people pleasing thing takes the cake.

I have always seen my physical appearance as sort of metaphorical somehow. So, I felt it was time to say "I find my security in God." again.

I have had blue streaks off and on- but never this big- and I love it. It irritates the heck out of my parents- but I'm trying to let go of all that. I want my life to be about subversing- not adhering to the normal.

And I want to have fun.

Please excuse the poser face I'm making in this photo. I realize I'm not 17 anymore and I'm not on a photo shoot or anything (or a cheesy myspace). I have always taken a bunch of over-prepared pictures of myself to sort of find myself somewhere in them. But that is a result if not being happy with my real face. But thats another post.

May 20, 2007

Sitting Waiting

This is going to be a rough week. I'm going on a bit of a journey next weekend and, as usual, I'm a bit anxious. I love to travel. I'm not very good at waiting though. My friend and I will set out on Thursday morning and drive twenty-so hours to a little town in the middle of Nebraska.
I have allowed the details of the excursion to stress me this week. I know the kids are feeling my stress and Carolyn is trying so hard to be supportive, but, I'm sure she wants to tell me to suck it up and relax. Why do I stress so much about traveling? Well, I think that it comes from a similar place as my consumerism. How are they connected? more ways than I first thought.
The fear that I deal with the most is the inability to provide. I was taught that in order to be a "man" I needed to provide several things for my family, friends, and myself. If I did not provide said things, I would be a failure. The list of necessary provisions include a safe home in a nice area, a nice car, a sizable bank account, a secure job in a prominent institution, a few interesting hobbies, and most importantly...a big, strong, stoic, frighteningly secure demeanor. The list is a tall order. I'm beginning to get past some of the preconceptions, but, it takes a long time to rid one's self of years of programming.
The fear of not being able to provide is compounded by our overly consumeristic culture. Because, not only do I have the preprogramed list for success, I also have society's list as well. Aghhhh!
Traveling adds another element to the muck and mire, because now I have to prepare for things that I do not know about, places I haven't been, problems I haven't yet considered. So, what do I do? I plan, prepare, obsess, and ultimately spin myself into a self-induced frenzy of self-doubt, anxiety, and fear. Will I have the right stuff for the trip? Do I have what it takes to succeed on my journey? What do I need for the journey?
As I have considered this for the past few weeks, I realized something odd. The best travelers were not very good planners. Look at some of them. Columbus was going to sail off the end of the world. Good plan. Lewis and Clark were going to see what was over there somewhere. Okay. Mark Twain went all over on a whim. John Muir wandered aimlessly. But all of them carried a journal.
They all recorded the journey. They noticed and recorded where they were, how they got there, what they saw, who they met. They recorded rather than planned. Because they did so, we can relive their journey and we can all gain the wisdom that only comes from leaving home and coming back some time later.
I'm trying so hard to not plan this trip. I'm trying so hard to go with the flow. It is tough, but, I'm going to try it.

May 15, 2007

Theres just no reason to buy new clothes

Shoes, maybe.

But shirts? Blouses? Nope.

Now- if you are trying to look cool, then yes- buying new is your best bet. I can see even a high powered career being an excuse for some crisp new clothes now and then.

Another reason for new clothes would be if you cant find your size. Or if the catergory of your need is just not sanitary- like undies.

But for the average sized housewife in the hills like myself, I am finding SO much good stuff at our local thrift store.

A J Jill bra tank, awesome tie-dye dresses, jean skirts, linen blouses, sun hats. Even some nice dresses for the girls.

And I'm blessed that this is an old-school Thrift store that still sells clothing for $.50 or under. Last week I purchased a dress and several shirts with my pocket change.

I was destined to Compact.

May 12, 2007

Killer Alien Roaches

It has become a tradition to get away for my birthday. Each year, for the past three, we have spent the time in Yosemite.
This year we drove through the rain and a sudden snow storm over the hill to a breath-taking site. Half Dome stood spotlighted by the only break in the clouds. Surrounded by rain, fog, and gloom, it stood as a testament to perseverance.
In our time, we explored small nooks and crannies in the rocks, woods, and river banks that we had always missed as we pursued more sizable and substantial views. Upon reflection, I realized that this is becoming more and more normal.
I am officially declaring that the funk is over, I'm finding new fervor and strength in our quest for simplicity. Here is the thing: simplicity is a journey, not a destination...that always sounded trite and pretentious (not to mention hokey) but, it is true. We will never arrive at simplicity, it is a choice that we make hundreds of times each day. But, the evidence that it is taking hold lies in the enjoyment of simple pleasures.
I shot the above picture of Violet as she splashed in puddles left over from the intensely cold rain. I long to find such joy in simple things as my children do. They can make every item in a camp site an adventure. Each rock becomes a space ship or a pirate ship and the ground between suddenly becomes hot lava or shark infested water. There is nothing in a child that says, "How can this be a pirate ship? There aren't any sails..." Children have an uncanny knack for seeing life as they imagine it, and they imagine it is good. They are overtly optimistic while most adults are ridiculously pessimistic. We can't do this because we don't have that. We aren't able to go there because this needs to be done. Our situation will never improve because of...
Finally I saw the space ship and cruised off to uncharted worlds. I battled dragons, swam with sharks, stepped over every crack in the pavement so the world didn't explode; and you know what I found? Joy. Right there, all along, waiting for me to turn off the "can't, won't, shouldn't," machine.
I believe that the wisdom of children lies in the narrowness of their worldview. They aren't concerned with anything they cannot control, this gives them very little to worry about. Add to this ability the faith they have in us (parents) and others and you have a very secure and well adjusted being. Sure, they get scarred about silly things (so do I), sure, they mess up once in a while (so do I) sure, they need help sometimes (getting the picture yet?), but, they can see that life is good, they see where life is good, they see good in all people, they find joy in the most simple things.
I'm tired of being an adult, childhood is a much better way to live. I'm going back. Come out to play if you dare...oh yeah, watch out for the killer alien roaches, they're nasty this time of year.

May 8, 2007

Happy Birthday to the man of my dreams

Which IS Matt, by the way.

I can't believe he's getting SO OLD. :)

I am so blessed to be married to such a creative, thoughtful and intelligent man. He never ceases to amaze me.

And the best part is, he seems to get better and better with age- so bring on the birthdays!

He puts up alot being married to me, but we have an awful lot of fun.

Happy Birthday, babe- I hope it was a good year!!!!

(sorry for the gushy non-simpleliving post....I just HAD to do it)

May 7, 2007

All I really need....

Quick post...I'm super sleepy.

We went to Yosemite last weekend and had a blast as usual. Ok- not a blast like when you go on waterslides or something. Yosemite is always different.

It's like going to Mecca. Theres something going on there besides tour buses and pretty sights crowded with a plethora of tourists.

It's like a cathedral or somethng- where you just feel spiritual and everything comesinto focus. It least- thats the effect it has on me. Something about the granite walls and the birds and the meadows. It drowns out all my junk and I can just be.

All my worries about stuff, my tiny messy house, my hair (thats another story), my family....all in perspective.

And with fresh vision, I came home ready to take on this journey of simplicity again. And with that- Compact Karma strikes again and I find myself overflowing in a material need we've had- sheets.

We have been offered 3 or 4 nice sets of king sized sheets.

Maybe not a big deal- but another simple reminder that we have all we need.