Sunday, April 2, 2023

Not much. How about the sheets I bought lately?

I have been making a pile of underdresses quick while I still have electricity! Oh sure, I don't need electricity and they can't make me want it, but the electric sewing machine is definitely faster 🙄

The stripey one is LINEN. It's hard to find linen for any decent price these days. I got that chunk on ebay. The advertised length would be just barely enough to make something, then it was a few inches short. The seller was a snot, offered a percentage of the total price less than two dollars by way of compensation, so I left bad feedback and used a triangle cut from a giveaway linen skirt to fill in. 

And this red and white check was my darling husband Jeff's grandma's old tablecloth! 

EMBROIDERED tablecloth I got for 50c at an estate sale because it had a stain right in the center, becomes "priceless heirloom folkish blouse" - right? 
There wasn't enough fabric so I filled in the lower part of the body with other random white cotton. 

This is my new style for a new freezing home. I actually hate wearing clothing to bed, but a little less so when the bedroom is 20 degrees. Haha it's going to get less than twenty but that's the lowest I've woken up and experienced up there so far! 
So this is a wrap nightgown. It's the same deal as the most ancient tunic garments that cross in front and tie. I put two big snaps on the two front flaps under the armholes which are really long. It's NO FUN getting naked to get dressed when it's c-c-c-cold! So I can get dressed inside that big baggy flannel garment which retains at least a little of my body heat, or just wrap some other warm outer layers around it for a while and change into real clothes later when (if) it gets warmer. And IF the bed gets nice and warm to the point that I'm back to disliking jammies, I can easily squiggle out of it or at least one half of it so I don't have to feel it any more. I've tried it and very pleased with my "invention" (what humanity's been wearing for aeons until recently). 

Oh, now it's left aligned now? Okay. I know better than to even touch Blogger's code or end up pulling my hair in frustration. 

Remember the blue linen I posted about long ago that I bought for medieval dress-up but never cut because it was so pretty and I couldn't decide what to make it into? (This picture does NOT do that sky /robin's egg blue justice) 
Well, it's cut, because my cold new home requires it. Staying warm is important. I learned it in the excellent book: 

"98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive" but my own personal donkey also appreciates the need to be warm. So the linen was cut into any random shape that made it so I could wear it. 
Life is much better in linen!  Cool in summer, warm in winter! 

That's not linen but I couldn't resist a set of cotton bedsheets in the most glorious, vivid, authentic-floral shade of deep pink. Those will become clothing. 

And now a word about my personal style. Got to thinking about it the other day. The year of birth matters slightly less to me than to those who were raised in the stream of civilization, since I was isolated by both force and preference. But there was some current time influence and the mid 70s loved this stuff: 

That one's a bit earlier, but there I am, right up to date with the cottage look before it was invented which was after it existed hahaha 

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

A Sense of Awe

I just read a good article about the "sense of awe",

If we're just going for that feeling of WHOA - funny thing is,  I easily remember the last time I had it. 

It doesn't include the feeling of standing on the edge of something which, for me, is more like NOPE  :-D  

Last time I had the distinct physical reaction of awe wasn't even the rather large waterfall I walked beneath a few days ago, or any sunsets, gorges, bridges or stars. It was the Rainier Building in Seattle, which I just found again by putting "building with narrower base". 

It was probably twenty years ago that I last wandered beneath that, looking up, and out again because I had shivers, and under again because it was just so awesome, five or six times. 

And that is awesome. (It really does BUG me when people yell "AWESOME" to show approval over the most non-awe-inspiring things, like "You remembered the ketchup! Awesome!!!") 

Monday, March 13, 2023

Would you like a bowl of mud?

Darling says at once, "Yes!" 

He's been around here a while, he knows what's up, hehe. It's going to be some form of not very thrilling chocolate dessert. 

This is GOOD FOR YOU. 

He says, "That's what you do - make dessert taste like dinner." 

But here I sit, eating a bowl of chocolate pudding and I feel happy. 

This is: 

4 c almond milk 

1/4 c coconut sugar 

1/2 c cocoa powder 

1/4 c beef gelatin  

and 1/4 c melted coconut oil 

I mix the powdered gelatin with the dry ingredients then dump into the almond milk, because that's easier than the usual methods. 

Cook it to scalding, then add some vanilla and put it in the fridge a while, and stir occasionally. 


It has more gelatin than strictly needed because I was reading about how good that stuff is for you. 

This is "Life by chocolate"  :-) 

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Thoughts from Today's Message

The speaker shared a cool quote, which, when I looked it up, led to another just as insightful.

I made that from a phrase from the sermon, with a background from Freepik, and words added using Android app "Collage Maker: Grid Art"

Using a phrase from the sermon: 

There were a couple other thoughts that helped. What about talking about "what great things God has done for you"? 

I've been suffering somewhat after the post about miracles. It was in Drafts for a year. I'm self-conscious about it. Isn't it kinda silly to say, "God spoke to me"? Won't I be scoffed at? Doesn't that imply that I think I'm somebody really special? Or maybe a little soft in the head? Maybe I should keep that to myself. 

But as I've explained to a few people, after all these years inside my own head I'm familiar with what my own thoughts sound like. Some of em are smart, others are horrible and cause pain, some are weird and make a mess it's hard to clean up. I have some really great random ideas sometimes that came from way down in my subconscious mind rather than conscious, but here's the thing-- I know what all of those sound like.  

When God put a word into my mind it was completely different. No mistaking that for anything that came from me. I didn't wake myself up at five in the morning. I didn't suddenly make myself humble and teachable. I didn't suddenly decide to study the other side's point of view. That word REST did not come from me. 

And I simply MUST talk about it. I've put off talking about it too long. It's a tiny just-for-me miracle that I get to talk about even in my normal, unworthy voice. It happened. Don't know why. I can't explain it. But it happened to me and thank God for it. 

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Watch Pratt & Whitney At Its Finest

Love the internet, where you can even find groups of fans of particular makes of airplane engine. How about that.

Well, there is just something about a “certain kind of engine sound” but I didn’t know what was different about them. Turns out it’s the sound of Pratt and Whitney, so rumbly-majestic-orderly they give me shivers. 

The other biggies are RR and GE, and some may favor them, but there’s no accounting for taste and those sound like jet engines to me. I like P&W. 

There went an hour of my life I’ll never get back, sorting out which breed of jet engine I prefer. Yay.

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Salsa for the Timid

Spotted this in the grocery store tonight and laughed so hard I barked. Darling turned around to see what was wrong. 

I remember a joke "If you know what Pace Extra Mild Picante Sauce tastes like, you might be a white chick."  Yep, I might be, and here's my salsa, labelled accurately. 

He says, "Timid! That's you! Until somebody offends you." 


Sunday, July 31, 2022

Me: Friend of Harbor Seals

One cool thing about living at a marina is one day you're walking home to your boat and there's a new baby seal that wasn't there yesterday.  

Mom quickly urges the baby to swim, and most importantly teaches him to get out again. 

That's the very first time the baby managed to get out of the water, and I was there to watch! 

They took up residency on a section of dock right behind our boat, which wasn't the greatest spot because it was a thoroughfare leading to many other boats. They might have been better off on the exact finger of dock where the birth happened which has much less traffic. But okay, we get lots of seal pictures! 

Not very many days later, Baby is filling out nicely and looks half as long as Mom already. 

They're gone most of the day fishing, but sleep up there at night. 

Jeff says harbor seals want to sleep on the dock because it's warmer. Cold water takes away their energy, so their survival is directly connected with how often they need to jump in. Whenever someone comes along, they watch, hoping the people don't get any closer because they don't want to have to go into the cold water again. 

I don't want to get any closer. I'm just trying to get home to my boat home so I walk in a nonthreatening way around their corner, making soothing baby talk. 

The night before last, we came home from shopping with a cart full of bags of groceries. Only the baby was on the dock. Mom had jumped in the water at the first sound of the cart. But since it turned out to be "you guys", she hopped back out of the water right in front of us and lay down! 

But then, unfortunately, I casually pulled a bag out of the cart too fast and without any baby talk to prepare them. They both bailed. Splish, splish. 

"That was just one grocery bag too much," Jeff said. 

Or maybe they heard about that lady in Oregon who carried a baby seal home in a shopping bag and killed it. 

Last night they had lain down for the night and I came walking around the corner in the dark. When they heard someone coming they both started hurrying towards the water, but then they realized it was me and stopped. 
I said, "Nice puppies, good puppies, stay there, it's just me" and they stayed still and watched me walk by only five feet away. 
I feel so honored! 

There's a video that goes here, I'll add it as soon as I find it :-) 

The challenge is to write some words, add some pictures and actually post. "Finding the video" is mastery level one step beyond that and one step beyond me. But I haven't given up! 

Mar 2023 ::remembers:: oh yeah, I put it on Youtube. 

Saturday, July 30, 2022

The Christmas Miracles of 2013 and 14

The year 2013, our first year of freedom, was a huge relief that also came with many changes and new challenges - challenges, in the real sense of the word: natural obstacles which must be dealt with and overcome, causing growth.  

Now a free adult for the first time in my life, I had the weight of responsibility for making a home for my family. 

The kids went to school for the first time in their lives. At least the four youngest did. (Vicky had escaped as soon as she was eighteen, completed her own education, then rejoined us after the rest of us escaped.) 

We found a wonderful alternative school that was a great environment for both them and me-- a homeschool co-op that had grown up; still legally "homeschooling" but in a public school building with teachers paid by the state. Parents and younger siblings hung around the facility all day, making an environment where elders and babies outnumbered the pupils. It was more like home. More like a village. Not much nonsense can go on with a mother always watching. It might not be your mother but it's still a mother. 

Christmas rolled around.

I do know better than Christmas. Christmas was big in my family when I was a child, but when I was ten or so, the old  booklet "Is Christmas Christian?" landed on our table and my parents and I read it. I was old enough to understand. That is an unholy day based on pagan customs and must go. 

I certainly missed it when it was gone. That was when we moved to the bookdocks, and Christmas was wrapped up in my fond memories as "the golden days when we were normal". In fact I missed it so much, that I have a Christmas tree as one of my early conscious sins. I was maybe twelve. We'd moved down to that place in Cali way out in the mountains, and I was so homesick for everything and Christmas, that I went out in the woods with some sparkly bits of garland and a few homemade ornaments, and decorated a little tree. 

It didn't feel good. "You're doing wrong right now and you know it." 


When I was first married, ignoring Christmas wasn't an issue. Ed didn't care. It's usually the women who pursue that (un)holyday anyway. Later on, when the kids grew old enough to ask Daddy, "Why can't we do Christmas like everybody else?" he challenged me to show him in the Bible where it says we can't do Christmas. After all, he said, "It's not like we're worshipping the tree!" 

I couldn't prove it. Nowdays I'd be able to, but I couldn't then. So I was given some money and told to make Christmas.

I grumbled to the kids, "Christmas is stupid, but Daddy's in charge, and he says we're going to," and then I decked the halls.

I also added that, "Our pagan ancestors definitely had a point with the twinkly lights. It does cheer up the bleak midwinter!"

Over the years I got so used to it that I had five boxes of decorations, a whole stack of Christmas CDs, Christmas cookie cutters, everything. The kids got used to my once-yearly conscience-soothing rant. Christmas became an ordinary part of our lives. 

When they were older I refused to be part of it. I'd tell them if they want Christmas, go to the attic and get busy. The first time I pulled that one, I was hoping they'd make a mess of it, but those big girls were artistic and turned the house into winter wonderland far more beautiful than I had ever done it. 

When we left in 2013 I had too many other things to think about.  Christmas came around and I didn't question it, only panicked. I added it to one of the many, many things I need to worry about and it felt impossible. How am I going to do this? WHERE am I going to get any gifts? 

At that point the divorce wasn't even filed. Ed was giving us some money at his discretion, never the full amount he had agreed to, but enough that I could scrape by if I was frugal.  

By the week before Christmas I had come up with a tree, and I had bought and wrapped one gift. I had looked at ideas for handmade gifts but hadn't started working on any. At least I baked some cookies. Besides that it was only despair. The kids kept on assuring me that they don't mind-- "It doesn't matter, Mom! It's okay if there aren't any gifts!" If you're a parent, you'll understand that that makes it feel worse, not better. 

And then a miracle happened.

I was brought to a back room at school and told that the local parents' group had heard about us, knew that we had come from 22 years of abuse and were now doing our best on very little funds, and had decided to adopt us for Christmas. Then they showed me a pile of presents that made my jaw drop. They filled up the back of my minivan twice. I had to make two trips. The first load was loads and loads of wrapped presents in big containers that were also gifts, such as a cool fabric-lined wicker laundry hamper. The next day was another load with some big items including a brand new Cuisinart food processor and a Crock Pot for me, and a bunch of useful housekeeping stuff from Costco.

Overwhelmed? Yes, I cried. I cried the next day.

The tree was buried behind gifts and the gifts stacked the table.

When Vicky saw the load she said, "Do they know about me?!"

No, they didn't. They only knew about the four youngers, but that didn't matter. They hadn't tagged the gifts, so on Christmas morning everybody just piled in and started opening at random, then had a great time swapping and sharing things around per taste. For instance, one gift was a cool coffee set with a mug and accessories, maybe intended for me, but Vicky was the only one of us who liked coffee. 

I have to say it was a lesson in how to gift, something I've never been much good at anyway. I seem to define gifts too narrowly and don't visualize "would make a great gift" about useful things that really make great gifts. There were colorful backpacks, pretty fleece blankets, journals with decorative covers, stationery, umbrellas. They also gave us a used Wii in great condition along with a pile of games and accessories. When the orgy of unwrapping was over, the kids played Mario together while I sorted out all that paper, feeling warm and loved by the kindness of strangers.

I've wanted to post about this ever since, but couldn't find the pictures. Now that I've found them they're quite disappointing. Only some poor phone snapshots, and not a single image of that mass of gifts. 

Here's one of the last tree I ever bought: 

And Vicky's enthusiasm helping us make a new home.
I love the sight of that plain little apartment in the background. What a change it was to be in a safe place where the door is under my control. Our apartment was a haven where nobody is welcome except nice people.  


There's just a tiny fraction of the gifts.

I found the thank you drawing that Karen made for our benefactors! It didn't scan very well. Here's a scan and one with the contrast increased a bit.

Honestly I'm glad it didn't even cross my mind to object that year. What was a wonderful day, enjoyed by all of us. Best Christmas ever! Not ruined by any awareness of conscience. Humans are frail critters.  I didn't even think about it afterwards. 

In December 2014 a better miracle happened. God sent someone to speak to me at the right moment and bring the topic to mind-- right before I bought a tree. I got no farther than to think, "Well, I don't suppose lightning's going to strike in the same place twice" (nope) when I was relieved of Christmas. 

I met someone who observed the Sabbath on the seventh day per the commandment, and the actually holy days which are what Jehovah worship indicates. I argued about that, but at least I was reminded about Christmas. 

Whoops. Adam isn't around any more to take the blame. It's up to me what we will or will not celebrate. As soon as I thought of it, the conclusion was immediate, although I flopped around with some regrets just like I had years ago as a child. Christmas is bright and twinkly and smells nice, but it must go. 

I felt some trepidation. Did I expect a crying fit when I told the kids that Christmas is cancelled? They barely shrugged. Yes, they remembered the lectures. 

Nowadays I would point to Deut 12:30, "Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise." 

December 25th isn't Jesus' birthday, but is the birthdate of some other legends and idols who don't need to be named. A well-travelled friend of mine once opined that, "Nobody can grow to adulthood in America without realizing where Christmas comes from." But honestly, I know of grown-up women who really think that that's Jesus' birthday. 

In case you're curious, I think the most fun, illustrated, bold and shocking information is in some videos shared with me very recently by my lovely new husband (as of 2019!) 

He came across them by chance on Youtube. There's a part 2 and there's one about Easter. Viewer discretion! But those nasty legends really are where this nonsense comes from.

The second miracle was me changing my opinion to something I had been set against. I needed not only to discard the unacceptable "Christmas" but to take up the real holy days instead. That was a step I had long been convinced was "Judaizing" and wouldn't examine. I had met Christians who followed Jehovah's genuine religious calendar, but I brushed them aside. The most recent conversation was no exception. I didn't investigate, only argued, briefly and proudly, and then dismissed the subject from my mind. I knew better than Christmas, but nowadays we go to church on Sunday! "The Lord's Day" and proud of it! 

One fine Saturday morning, shortly after cancelling Christmas, I woke up with the strangest feeling. It was earlier than five am, I felt suddenly alert, peaceful (miracle) and wide awake, and it seemed as if before my face there was a word, in four large letters. "REST" 

I had intended to get up (much later) and then vacuum and clean the house in preparation for resting on Sunday. But instead, I jumped out of bed, feeling energy (miracle), interest, curiosity, humility (miracle)-- something amazing was happening! And suddenly everything was okay! 

I hit the internet to do research. One of the old teachers I'd listened to long ago had published a booklet series on the ten commandments, and I looked up the 4th commandment one. It begins by saying that he's not going to get involved in the controversy of which day and time is the correct sabbath, only going to instruct us in how to observe the day that we choose for ourselves. Suddenly that sounded like the most cowardly thing I'd ever heard of. "Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy" is one of the big ten. It gets no more foundational than that. How can we remember it, if we don't know which one it is? 

It's pretty obvious which day is the seventh day of the week, come to think about it. A quick study points out how many different languages call the seventh days of the week some variant of "Sabado". Jesus was the son of God, he certainly knew which day was the right one, and he had never argued with the Pharisees about which day it was, only, like my former teacher's booklet, taught what things should be done on that day. The Romans' days of the week are recent history and traceable. Wikipedia explains that the calendar's been adjusted a few times, but only the numerical dates. The seven days of the week have never been messed with. 

Okay. That same booklet said that one of the things you must do on the sabbath is assemble. So I googled, "sabbath church" thinking I would have to fall back on the SDA, like my sabbath-keeping mother, but lo and behold, there was the real Church of God. Their meeting place was four miles away from me and services started in one hour. Just enough time to get dressed. "Okay, God, I guess I'm going to church." 

How funny it was to wander in there! Terra incognita, as foreign as going to another country, and then how strange to discover that that other country was my real home. Afterwards I called up my mother and admitted what I'd just done, and that she had been right all along (gigantic miracle, haha). 

When I was a teenager, one of the home churches we had attended met on Saturday. I only noticed that as an anomaly and it made no impression. I was out in the shop with the men, eschewing female company as usual, and they talked politics, but my mother had been in the kitchen and had absorbed the sabbath. 

Ed had decided that Sunday was the correct day and I had resisted much less than Christmas. I had barely noticed, and later, forgot about it entirely. I had had to go do archaeology to even remember for sure that that group met on Saturdays. 

The calendar of days by which people schedule their lives shows which system they are loyal to. It's kinda like we can tell which side you're on by whether you observe the 4th of July or Cinco de Mayo. Do you keep the day that God said is holy from the time of creation and commanded us to "remember"? Or allow human leaders to appoint a different one? 

"Constantine I decreed that Sunday will be observed as the Roman day of rest: 'On the venerable day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed.'"'s_Day

So vacuuming was cancelled and I followed God in a new direction because he told me to. Does that sound strange? "God told me to." Who talks like that? If I'd heard people say that, I'd usually scoff. I'd call it their strong imagination, at best, or exaggerating for effect, or at worst, faking it for purposes of their own. God doesn't talk to people any more. 

Did I really not think that God talks to people? And if I didn't, then, did I even believe in such a thing as God? 

Monday, July 4, 2022

Boat Cookies

How do we make cookies without sugar? or an oven... 
This is almond flour, mashed banana, coconut oil and lemon juice, rolled into blobs and cooked in a frying pan with the lid on. I put another grate on top of the burner for more space and left it on low for a while. 
They came out just fine. The test of a cookie is whether you're trying to resist eating more of them. My cookie itch was scratched. 

I wouldn't normally bake on aluminum foil, but there wasn't any parchment on the boat. Just this once won't kill us.  

The boat is good practice for where I'm going next. There's no fridge, oven, or running water on the boat - although Darling says he'll get the water back on very soon - but there's a source of potable water fifty feet away. Carrying it back in gallon jugs is practice, and washing two hands with a gallon jug in one of them is an art.  
Update as of now: he just said the boat's going to have running water today! 
That's cool, but not necessary. I'll try not to let myself get spoiled. 
The boat has power and cell phone service.  

Where we're going there's no power but solar, no phone but landline, no water but what we haul in, but there'll be an oven! Our trailer will have propane to cook with. Choose your indulgences, hehe. 
It's not exactly the wild woods, although it'll be woodsier and wilder than I've been for a few decades now. 

Another test, oatmeal and raisins without bananas, and I bought some parchment squares:

A few days after giving up sugar the darling stood up after dinner and wanted to know, "What's for dessert? Where's the M&Ms? Where's the Reese's? Where's the Oreos??" 

I said, "Look in the frying pan, there's cookies"  

Friday, June 3, 2022

Chocolate cravings?

I've had quite a journey AFTER losing the 50 lb. I really, really, really didn't want to find that 50 lb again that I had lost (and I knew it was probably only mislaid and wasn't very far away) and yet I definitely needed to eat more after the diet to regain my strength. 

After the strenuous dieting I found my body and spirit surprisingly resistant to any further limitations. It's like I wanted to be free to eat "whatever I want" henceforth. 

I've bounced around from one thing to another since then.  By now I've regained about 6 lb which isn't bad, considering it's been almost a year, and yet that's dire and drastic because it's progress in the wrong direction! 

The latest turning point was just recently when the darling pulled up to the window to order a fancy coffee and asked if I wanted anything. Now, I tell you, my world CHANGED a couple years ago when he ordered me my first fancy anything-- it was a spiced chai with almond milk (I don't get what people see in coffee)-- I took a sip and bells and fireworks went off, it was something like-- "Whoa, this is great! This is delicious! What is this? Oh my goodness, it's amazing" sip "Wow, how did you know about this? This is fantastic, thank you" sip "Oh, Lord have mercy this is wonderful, yummmm" sip, for the next however long it took me to put that away (and that's part of how I ended up 200 lb in the first place haha). 

So. Do I want a spiced chai? Well, do I want a drink that costs six bucks? That would be a nope. Now that the dating's over I don't want a cup of empty calories worse than I need us to save six bucks. 
So I looked up the sugar content, hoping that would help me feel better about missing out. 42 grams of sugar... is that a lot? The Heart Association says to stay under 24 g of sugar a day if you don't want to end up diabetic. 
Or you could have a pumpkin spiced chai for 58 grams! 

Along with my search, Google suggested a video called, "What happens if you stop eating sugar for 30 days?" and we listened to it. 
It was this one, 

That presenter says what I already knew but don't like to hear, that sugar is sugar is sugar. You and your self-righteous, soothing organic maple syrup, coconut sugar, honey, whatever it is, it's all glucose. And white bread and potatoes by the way. It's all the same. 

Darling said, Let's do it! Let's give it up! 

He wasn't really addicted to sugar. That's not his weakness. He can take sugar or leave it. But I am a sugar addict! The first step to getting help is admitting there's a problem, and I lerve sweets. All of my teeth are sweet teeth. 

I am the all or nothing type. Some of the advice pages suggest using moderation rather than going to extremes, but I'm with the personal trainer I found who says that moderation is just not effective with sugar addicts. It's like telling an alcoholic to have only one beer a day. 

The first day without sugar wasn't really without, since Darling had also ordered chocolate chip cookies with his coffee and I had had one. I felt it by evening. The second day I nearly lost my marbles. Turns out (one doesn't notice these things until they go away) I was basically having two servings of chocolate every single day. So I walked in circles and chewed the scenery. 
I said, "I'm gonna kill someone!" and darling says, "Hopefully not me?" 
Nope, because he still looks like meat, and protein isn't what I'm after right now. 

The next day was just as crazy, so was the next and yet I began to feel enthusiasm about breaking the back of this monster. Who wants to be addicted to anything? Who wants a substance to rule one's life? Who wants to be a helpless slave unable to refuse to do what's necessary to obtain said substance? 

I remember as a teenager hearing something about heroin addicts and not having any sympathy. But then I thought that maybe I couldn't be superior about it until I had become addicted to heroin and tried to stop; maybe it wouldn't be as easy as it looks from here. And then I contemplated how my mother railed against sugar and yet we ate it every day. Why don't I try going without that? Then I ate sugar for the next 35 years until now. Well for one thing, if you want to get off heroin stop hanging around the culture. And most people have family who wants the white stuff. It's not so bad if you remove it from the premises completely. And it's lovely if you have a healthy darling who is on the boat with you! 

My emotions are still going up and down on the sugar coaster but it's starting to even out. The ups are natural and are actually HIGHER. It's almost as if by giving up sugar, you become sugar. You get your energy back again.  

Darling says, "What are you eating there? Mud?" 
He said, "Well, that's a lot of chocolate, so if that doesn't take care of your chocolate craving then we will know that what you were craving wasn't chocolate." 
Thanks for that news flash, Captain Obvious. 

That's a lot of chocolate mixed with some peanut butter. Peanut butter doesn't have sugar. Ground cocoa nibs don't have sugar, neither do rice cakes. The whole thing really gums up the chewing works, and it took a lot of unsweetened peppermint tea to choke that all down. Afterwards I felt full, satisfied, and energetic. 

Breakfast has been oatmeal with chocolate on it, a zero-sugar bowl of nice warm mud. It tastes pretty decent, actually, and is incredibly filling. How about some carrots for lunch? 

I think I can do this! 

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Gently down the stream

Dave: row, row, row
Me: merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily!

My experience with water and boats is still limited that a rowboat is a thrill. 

I got to go again with the darling a couple days after. We were bringing the boat over to an end of the beach where we could pluck it from the water and carry it to our truck. 

You would think I could row. I'm strong enough, and I'm reputed to have a knack for mechanics and the spatial relationships thing that does me so well on IQ tests. But the one or two times I've been in a rowboat I look like a confused toddler, going in circles, splashing around to no purpose, unable to get the boat to make any efficient progress or even in the right direction. I've conceded that the darling gets to row. 

But he got an important phone call and abandoned rowing. I could have sat nicely and waited, but I grabbed oars and started hauling as randomly as usual, and eventually got us over to the target beach and THEN I got to do a totally excellent thing I've always wanted to do-- didn't realize it was at the top of the list of things to do before I die, until the opportunity for it was at hand! That thing I've seen a dozen times on pirate movies, where you jump out of the boat into the water and pull the boat up the beach. My shoes were off so quick you'd think somebody was about to tell me not to do that. 

That thing. 
The darling usually says, "That's not a job for a princess!" 
But he was on the phone and didn't notice I was pulling him in. When he hung up, there was the boat up on the beach and me looking like I'd just saved the world. 
One of those high points of life! 

Thursday, April 14, 2022

The Place I Come From

This was the first place I really loved. Western novels talk about love of the land, and how a certain location can wrap around your heart. 

I was born in the rainy Northwest and didn't think of escaping since I didn't know anywhere else was any different. My eyes opened when we moved to North California. 

Mother didn't want to go. She liked her comfortable city life where she had everything together, a big house with fancy furniture, room-sized closet stuffed with fashionable clothes, new car, respected at church. Life was just as she liked it. We probably never could have gone except the only means of persuasion Daddy had that she couldn't resist, namely, TEOTWAWKI. It's coming. We have to get out of Babylon quick, before the crash! 

In retrospect it probably didn't need to be that scary, and yet, if it hadn't been that scary, it wouldn't have happened. If he hadn't filled my mother's head with doomsday scenarios she wouldn't have budged. I only realized that angle thinking back on it decades later. I think really Daddy just wanted to go to the woods. 

I was pre-teen. School was abandoned. So were piano lessons. You don't need those things when the apocalypse is coming. I began to smell the free air. 

Maybe I'll put in my school story right here. Why not? If you're bored, here you go. 

Part of my mother's clawing for status included making the accidental baby, me (my brother and sister were 16 and 19 when I was born and Mother had begun to smell the free air), into the very bestest baby ever, as if there was some competition for whose baby could talk first, and tie shoes first, and play Mozart first, wearing a dress hand sewn by Mother. Being on the autism spectrum, as I now know, reading came easily for me, and Mother poured her energy into molding me into a star. She had me reading at two and writing at three. Piano was my native talent, but cooperating with stardom was not. 

When I was four years old, I was sitting on the steps reading a Little Golden book about kindergarten. I remember that day clearly. I remember trying hard to understand the relationship between that book and life. Is school a real thing? Could I go there someday? Or was it too late, and the chance had passed? Was school only for others? 

I brought the book to Mother and asked. She threw me in the car right that very minute and drove me down to the Christian school at the end of the road. She wrung the principal's arm and drove home without me. I remember feeling confused, abandoned, and a bit suspicious. That had been too easy. 

Kindergarten was okay. They did fun things just like the book had promised. I loved the puzzles and worksheets. We were forced to take naps, or at least to lie quietly on a mat for a while. 

One of my distinct memories was of the day they had all the kids get down on the floor and pretend to be worms, and wriggle over to the other side of the room without using arms or legs. Ummm "or not." 

The teacher called for backup. I remember sitting on a bench with my arms crossed while four adults reasoned with me. I just watched the kids on the floor, thinking, "Don't they have any idea how stupid they look? Where is their dignity?" 

I realized that we must have "friends" to get along here. One girl was willing to be my friend if I'd pay her in stickers, so I kept giving her stickers every day. When they were gone, I asked my mother for more stickers, but when Mother heard why I needed them, she refused. She said that's not the way it works. But that was the only way I knew how to do it, so when that survival tool was taken away from me, I was left friendless. 

In first grade they tried to teach me to read. I made my feelings known. Are they trying to insult us? Do they think we're stupid? We do NOT need a teacher! 

I was put into a room alone with a worksheet to fill in while the masters discussed my fate. They moved me to second grade. In second grade I was the one at a disadvantage, and there are some painful memories from that time. I was bullied by some and bullied others, looking for somewhere to fit into that awful pecking order. I remember some shocking acts of spite that I committed against other kids, quite at random; kids were hurting me, so I hurt back. It didn't matter that it wasn't the same kids. And I remember feeling rage at the popular girls who dressed fashionably, not in homemade dresses by Mother, and did trendy, cool things. 

There was a group of smart kids who did other math problems than the rest of us. I asked the teacher if I could be in that group. She refused. I don't remember the reason given. I remember being upset. Did she think I was too stupid? But wait, what if she really did know better, and she was right? Welcome to self-doubt. 

Another clear memory is one day when, instead of hating it as much as usual, I actually began to feel happy, for the first time in a long time-- that was because I had just learned how to zone out. I was enjoying myself very much, staring out a window high above my head at some sunny clouds up there, enjoying a long train of lovely, interesting thoughts-- interrupted by a teacher's rebuke. I learned, that day, what the word "daydreaming" meant. She explained it to me. Thank you. 

I told Mother I had changed my mind and didn't want to go to school any more. Then came the first really awful disillusionment of my life. All this time, I had thought I was there voluntarily. The reason for the suspicious alacrity of sticking me in kindergarten was because she had anticipated a pitched battle when it was time to go to school, but then I had stepped right into it.  

I ran to Daddy and got another shock. All-powerful Daddy told me he couldn't take me out of school or the truant officer would come around and collect me. Well, don't let them! Nope. Then the police would haul Daddy away. 

That pin, though. Good grief. And the curls. 

When Daddy took me out of school to move to the boondocks it felt like vindication. A great wrong was finally righted. 

By that time, like many of the other ways our souls are crushed into conformity with this world, I had lapsed into the surrounding assumption that people who don't go to school are stupid and doomed to failure. It's hard to resist when "everyone" knows this to be a fact. But I decided I didn't care. The pain wasn't worth some imaginary reward. Anyway, the world was going to end soon, so it didn't matter. 

There was some attention paid to me at first, with lame school-at-home lessons which I resisted. Shortly before we went from the rural woods to the real woods, Mother invested in three years of a workbook method some charlatans convinced her was all that was needed. I hated the workbooks even before I did any of them. A thumb-through was enough. They had stupid cartoon illustrations two to a page, which I persuaded Mother, with a panicked sense of urgency, that the very sight of would irritate my brain to a fever and doom me to stupidity forever. She returned them for her money back. 

Eventually I was allowed to read whatever I picked up at garage sales. It wasn't always healthy choices. Some really weird stuff comes with scholarly-looking marbled covers. De Maupassant as a pre-teen, really? Well, it was food for thought. I read 1984 in 1984 when I was fourteen. I was too young and it left some gouges. So did Foxes Book of Martyrs. 

Daddy at one point must've had a qualm. He came across an old history book and handed it to. "Read the first two chapters and write a paper on it." A paper? Never tried that before. Might be fun. I wrote a beautiful recap of the first two chapters, and he said, "You're fine. Go play." 


I had come from a suburb, then found myself alone with two parents and three dogs in a mountain valley where we owned clear to the top of one hill and partway up the other. There was BLM on three sides. Instead of people, cars and sirens, there was the sound of the wind, or maybe once a day, a jet plane up so high that it was hard to spot it. At night there were more stars than blank sky between. It looked like sparkly icing. I found the Andromeda galaxy with Daddy's binoculars. 

All that warm grass to romp on, and giant trees of subtypes I was delighted to learn, sugar pine, ponderosa pine, Coulter pine, oaks, Douglas fir, manzanita, giant interesting twisted old maples stretching around and over a creek that was big enough to make electricity but small enough for a kid to move, channel and dam. That was my new playground. I planted my own garden. I sewed clothes for my Barbie dolls. 

One day I was looking up at the hill and it occurred to me that one could get there from here. If I kept on walking, I would eventually get to the top. I asked Dad, then took a dog and headed up there. That was my first experience scrambling, sometimes on all fours, straight up the side of a big hill. I still remember the feeling of the top. It was a big deal. 

The hill on the other side was four or five times as high. I did that later on. It took all day and pushed my comfort zone. 

I can make just as good a case for its being quite miserable. I didn't fit in, even before we became mountain people. Seeing a human being once every couple of weeks doesn't help one's personal growth. I had disliked them, as a lot, before, and even moreso when I began to look like a crazy redneck in whatever rags I favored, with accessories from garage sales over my mother's objection, and their reaction was as you'd expect. 

Eventually even I got lonely. I had conversations in my head, but couldn't have them with real people. My tendency to be snarky and blurt hurtful truths went unchecked. Later, when I met normal people, I felt unacceptable and out of place. I worried about the future. I was ready for the world to end but began to lose faith after a while. I didn't know what I would do if it continued. 

I had an engulfing mother. When Dad was in the house, she told him every move to make, but during daytimes she stayed mostly in the house and garden doing boring things. Dad was down in the shop, fixing cars for money, building things on the place, messing with alternative energy. He knew everything about everything. I really should have come out with so much more knowledge! I could have had a college education for free if I'd paid attention. Mostly I followed him around, read books out loud to him while he worked, played with the dogs, talked to him about my pet philosophies. Decades later I asked him why he hadn't taught me more of his skills. He says he tried, but I made it clear "in no uncertain terms" that I was uninterested. 

Hm. How old was I then, thirteen? Well, I admit I'm usually not exactly tractable. 

There was no music except what I or my mother made. My brother had given me a tape recorder, but the batteries were for the flashlights. Whenever Dad would start the generator, I'd run for the record player and the one record I really liked, the Emperor Concerto. I could get most of the way through it before he turned the power off again. After listening enough times I had it basically memorized so that I could hear it play in my head any time I wanted. 

I have more photos of the interior of the house, but I'm little interested in them. The house was necessary to sleep at night and read indoors when it was hot, but the woods were where I preferred to live. 

Here's a stitch from the olden days when we had to take the photos manually. This is the view standing on the ridge to the east of our small east hill. I only went up there twice. Our east hill is down in the middle and then the higher one behind it is the west hill.  

Do you see a black blob on the very far right side? That's my dog Cindy, who once treed a bear by herself.  

There's Cindy Lou, some cat I've forgotten the name of (if it ever had one) and me. 

And my rooster, Dynamite. 

I wasn't entirely lazy and useless. 
I discovered firewood. The first experiment was a huge pile of rounds from a big tree, and I saw my Daddy splitting with a maul. "I wanna try that!" 
I split a stack of firewood and asked if I could do this from now on. 
The next day, I saw Daddy splitting more firewood. "Hey, you said I could do it!" 
He said, "But you don't have to do all of it." 
Nope. I get to do all of it. That's my job now. You cut the tree, I do the rest. 
Daddy always told me girls were better than boys in all ways that mattered, and most anything I wanted to try, he would help me. But he wouldn't let me touch a chain saw and put fear into me about it. Apparently chain saws have it in for girls, and will lop off hands and feet purely out of spite. I've never gotten over that. Sometimes when I was older I'd ask this or that logger about it, and instead of the reassurance I was seeking, I'd have to hear all the stories about the most gruesome amputations they've ever witnessed. So I've never run a chain saw. 
There are no photos of little me with a splitting maul, but here's me at thirty something. 

Oh my goodness Blogger is frustrating sometimes. Now I've got text and photos floating all over the place up there and I didn't even want them floating. 
I'll come back and fix this later. 
It's kinda fun sharing random nostalgia and I'll probably come back and add some more. Sign of old age. Wanting to ramble about the old days. 



Wednesday, January 26, 2022

The Chicken Song

This is what the internet is for!




Tuesday, January 25, 2022

What Makes the Creative Process Flow?

It might be the smell of tires.

Monday, December 27, 2021

Paleo Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies

The second date with my darling, that is, the third day I met him, the fascinating story of how that day unfolded included some paleo almond flour cookies as an important point. Some checkpoint people wanted to take them away from me, but that didn't happen  :-) 

I left some cookies with the darling when I went home, but I was a little embarrassed because they were not very sweet and wouldn't do much for the taste buds of an average person. Later I found out he likes paleo too! 

They were like these, but these are better. 

Just sharing. This recipe is really simple and turns out great every time.