Meet the Flinstones: Cast & Crew

It has been brought to my attention that new readers need to know who’s who out here in the buttfuck middle of nowhere. I concur wholeheartedly, since we just added a new member.

I’ll start with myself. I’m an addict named Cindy, and I’m the genius behind all of the drool-inducing navel gazing that gets published here. I just recently celebrated 13 years clean, and I’m still trying to comprehend the miracle of 12-step recovery.

Sunshine: my husband, my friend, my partner in crime. He’s my better half, because he has much better people skills than I. He is also in 12-step recovery (I’m not supposed to say that about him, but he gave me permission), and he just celebrated 11 years clean. It’s been an honor and a privilege to watch his journey in recovery from such an up-close and intimate point of view. He is a mason, the kind that doesn’t start with a capital m. He stacks rocks for a living. Well, at least until we finish the house we’re building, and then he will hopefully retire or take up something less physically punishing. If you want to learn more about Sunshine, you should check out “Uncertain”, a feature-length documentary that tells his story with a grace and dignity that I could never conjure up.

Mollie: my furbaby. She’s a 7 year old dachshund who doesn’t know she’s a dog. She’s not sure what she is; but she’s certain that Sunshine is the biggest, baddest, bestest of whatever she is. She is all heart, and she is very wise. When you ask her “Mollie, what time is it?”, she just looks at you like you’re crazy and she asks you “What is time?” Then she tells you “it’s right now, and right now we should squeak the toy!” (or whatever strikes her fancy at that particular moment).

Mr B: he’s the guy who put up the initial money to buy the property we all live on. His hobbies are: studying neuroscience, changing the plan, buying tractors and other random big-ticket items to do things bigger/better/faster/more, and moving dirt. In spite of the ways he frustrates me, I do love Mr B to pieces. He’s great in a crisis; he’s had to break out his medical training from his past lives to tend to several of my severe injuries that aren’t major enough to justify carrying my uninsured-in-the-coverage-gap self to a doctor. He is also our resident court jester, and never passes up an opportunity to make us groan at his puns.

Mrs B: Mr B’s wife. She’s a science teacher at the local school system, which is hella cool because girls can do maths and sciences too! She’s our resident essential oil expert, and generally well versed in holistic health topics.

Tia: my BFF. She doesn’t live here, yet we all consider her a vital part of this community. She’s the Pinterest rock star who discovered a recipe for the vanilla cantaloupe jam we all love so much, and she’s constantly helping me find instructions for the new stuff I decide to try and learn. I couldn’t do all the stuff I’ve learned to do here without her, from tackling the cacti to learning to preserve the organic wild blackberries that grow on the property to how I can maximize storage in a small house.

Biff: AKA Goldilocks. He works for Sunshine, but I think he wants to stay on out here after Sunshine retires. He’s a bit of an oddball; willing to help plant the garden yet doesn’t eat most of the stuff that grows there because he’s addicted to Twinkies and Ho-Hos and Ding-Dongs and shit. His hobbies include watching cartoons, watching football, and he apparently enjoys weedeatering. He’s a great help when there’s a job to be done, and I’m glad he’s thinking about staying on out here.

Rude Ass: our master everything. He’s a skilled finish carpenter; a mechanic who can even work on diesel engines; he’s more than competent with plumbing and electrical work; and he can play guitar rather well. Rude Ass is also quite a good teacher who has yet to lose patience with me as I submit my change orders for the work he’s doing to help build our house; he’s taught me how to properly use a lot of his tools so that I can do some of the work myself.

DaRule: our newest member. DaRule is quiet, and has been busy getting settled in; as he’s not just new to the community, he’s new to the area. He’s originally from up north, so I think the weather has been a shock, especially since we went straight from “fuck it’s cold” to “damn it’s hot”, with no spring to speak of. He’s managed to find time to help in the garden, and having his help and companionship has motivated me to get out there and do more gardening.

So, that’s our cast of characters out here. I need to get my shit together and do some more “Meet the Flintstones” interviews so that you can get to know everyone better; but I’m seriously overwhelmed with health issues, decision fatigue from designing/building my new home, gardening, and increased hours at my job. It’s been a lot, and I have yet another appointment with yet another specialist today. I’m afraid of what he’s going to have to say about my left shoulder, because I’m guessing he’s going to want to do surgery (which is always scary for a recovering addict); so please send a quick little prayer to whatever you believe in that I’ll come through whatever treatment he prescribes–without changing my clean date. Check out the Meet the Flinstones tag for the stories I’ve already published, and the Citizens at large tag for interviews with other bloggers I follow (I need to get my ass in gear and get started on the next one).

Thank you all for reading my brief, navel gazing drivel and getting to know the cast of characters out here!

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Happy Mother’s Day

I know I interact with a lot of moms on here, so happy mothers day to each of you.

I’m sitting here at work, missing my mom. She wasn’t home when I tried to call her on my drive in, but you can bet I left an annoying message on her answering machine. Yes, my mother is a bit of a luddite, and uses an answering machine rather than voice mail. When I get her machine on her birthday, I sing to it. Very badly.

Enough about me, this is supposed to be about my mom.

I can’t find words to express just how fucking amazing my mom is. She pretty much raised us three kids single-handedly as my dad was sick for many years before he passed. She’s not my genetic mom, but you’d never know that by the way she acts and treats us all. My mom taught me to be strong, independent, and polite. She taught me that hard work won’t kill me, and that a clean house helps declutter my mind (although I didn’t turn out quite so OCD about it as she still is). She taught me to question everything, then gets annoyed with me when I question everything.

My mom is a classic case of “still waters run deep”. She isn’t prone to great displays of emotion; yet she feels things very deeply. She’s great at hiding her anger when that is an appropriate response. She’s doesn’t talk or laugh loudly in public. She doesn’t cry much in front of others. She is always gracious and polite, no matter how much she dislikes something or someone.

In spite of all that, if you know my mom, you know what is going on inside. There’s a certain look in her eyes when she’s raging; if the offense is a wrong against someone she loves, the entire world will know she is raging (most especially if it’s her kids being wronged). In the privacy of her own home, she doesn’t hesitate to raise her voice when her children need to be told to “get some act right”. Those of us who know her know when she’s laughing her ass off inside, and when she’s concentrating really hard on something (she has her tells, and I’ll never reveal them while she’s alive, she deserves some secrets). When she doesn’t like something or someone, those who know her can see the sharp points of the icicles hanging from her polite and gracious words.

My mom dealt with a lot when I was young: sick husband, full time job, three kids, a house and 10 acres of land, and my burgeoning addiction. She survived all of it; and somehow, nothing got neglected so that we survived all of it too.

The most amazing thing about my mom is that she never disowned me, no matter how bad the insanity of my addiction got. When I got clean, my mom was right there willing to let me build a new relationship with her. She has been a great help in my recovery, because she still won’t co-sign any of my horseshit; yet she also knows when I just need the comfort of mom for a moment and is always there with it.

My mom is a superhero, and I’ll kick your ass within an inch of its life if you dare to suggest otherwise. (I doubt any of you would, you’re all too kind for that sort of thing, which is why I love you.)

Reader poll

You guys have all heard my take on Sunshine and my take on Mr B. They’re coming up soon in the “Meet the Flintstones” series, so I want to know what questions you guys want to ask either of them.

I’ll also be interviewing

  • my girl Tia,
  • our very own Goldilocks/Biff,
  • my boss (if I can hold his attention long enough to accomplish a brief interview),
  • Rude Ass,
  • anybody else you guys want to learn more about

For the Citizens at Large series, I’d like to interview you guys, my dear readers and beloved friends. I’ve already introduced you to The EcoFeminist. Coming up is The Tea and Book Pirate. I’ll be getting to all of you, so none of you are safe from my nosiness endless curiosity😇.

So, comment and let me know what you want me to ask Sunshine and Mr B.

Meet the Flinstones: Sunshine

I know that some of you enjoy my mindless drivel (thank you for that, Benjamin); however, there is more to this fledgling intentional community than just me/myself/and I. I’m going to start trying to regularly introduce you to some of the other members that live here, some of the people we interact with regularly (like my boss, hopefully); and I also want to introduce you to members of the community that lives in my phone and tablet.

Today, I’m introducing you to Sunshine, my better half. I’ve been wanting to post about the time he hunted with a wolf by his side.

On the red carpet for “uncertain” at Tribeca: Sunshine, Henry Lewis, Ewanna (Ewan and Anna) of Lucid Inc., and Zach Warren. With Sunshine in camo: Ewan and Steve of Lucid Inc.

Well. this week, I got Sunshine to sit down and tell me the story about the day he crawled through the woods, side by side with a wolf, stalking feral pigs.
Side note: he’s technologically resistant, so I just had to type fast while he told me the story. I apologize for not having him do it himself so he could answer any questions or fill in more details, but I promise to get him to answer any questions as quickly as I can.

What follows is what he told me to type.

It was late afternoon. I had taken a guy on an unofficial guided wild pig hunt. We got up on a group of pigs, but the wind wasn’t in our favor. We were attempting to circle around behind these pigs and flush them out in the open from the thick underbrush they were in.

I got a glimpse of them as they passed down an open trail, but my objective was for the other guy to get to shoot a pig as he was my unofficial greenhorn client and he wasn’t in a position to fire. I placed him at the end of a trail and circled around behind the pigs.

The brush became extremely thick, and the only way in was to crawl on my hands & knees on the trails through the brush that the pigs traveled on. I had crawled about 30 to 40 yards into a thicket, where I found an opening in the brush. I caught some movement in my peripheral vision on my right. I was expecting to see a pig, and turned my head very slowly since pigs have poor vision and notice movement. I locked eyes with a red wolf in a crouched position, stalking the same pigs I was stalking, about 20 feet to my right. We looked at each other for 3 or 4 seconds, then the wolf continued to move forward in a low crouch.

That’s the closest I’ve ever been to a wolf in the wild. I suspect the wolf perceived me as another predator, possibly part of his pack, and therefore didn’t perceive me as a threat.

As I continued on to try to flush these pigs, they were able to evade me, and we went home empty handed. However, the experience I had with the wolf was a form of spiritual recognition of one predator to another, and the connectedness of all things. I felt very honored to have this moment of spiritual clarity, where this creature and I shared a primal common bond. I hope my brother, the wolf, had a successful hunt.

Some day, I’ll get him to sit with me and answer some questions (the same set of questions I hope to get others to answer in guest posts) so that you can get to know him a bit better. Until that day, I think that this story represents Sunshine in a nutshell for anyone that hasn’t met him or seen “Uncertain“.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and get to know my Sunshine a wee bit better. We are always humbled when someone takes an interest in what we’re up to and tries to learn more about us; this blog is no exception.

New Year’s Resolutions

I don’t make resolutions. I’m a recovering addict who got sick of all the promises I broke.

However, I’ve had a lot of shit rolling around in my noodle and I figure this blob is a good place for writing about it all: what worked, what didn’t work, what is like to try, how I feel about it. Because the shit I’m doing and the deal rolling around my noodle is vitally important and must be preserved for posterity.

So, I’ll be experimenting with monthly posts about goals/plans/projects I want to accomplish for that month, and posts about how much of it I actually accomplished.

I’ll also be attempting to get some guest posts going, because you, my dear readers, deserve more than just my mindless drivel. There are others here at this fledgling community, and they have stories to tell, too. There are also lots of people in the blogoverse that is like to introduce to you, because they have stories to tell, too.

I don’t know how well I’ll actually follow through on all of these plans, but I certainly would like to bring some structure to this blog since, thus far, it has been a bunch of random ideas that come to me in giant brain farts. I love the regularly featured themes I see on some blogs, and I think something like that would help me stay focused.

Tomorrow will be my first “monthly plans and goals” type post; and at the end of the month, I’ll be counting on you guys to keep me honest and call me on my shit.

And I’ll also be counting on you to remind me to laugh at myself when I fail at something, because life is too short to take myself too seriously.

Year in review

I’ve been seeing a lot of “year in review” posts, and posts about 2018 goals. I think those are both wonderful types of posts. I’m not usually one to do that sort of thing; not here, not on Twitter, and not in real life.

Why not?

Well, I’m a recovering addict who is sick of all of the broken promises I’ve made to myself over the years. 

That doesn’t mean that I don’t have goals and plans and dreams. It just means that I get with my sponsor and we figure out how the steps apply to the problems I’m having and the things I want to accomplish. The steps are effective on more than just my drug problem, which is good; dope was only 5% of my problem. The other 95% of my problem is sitting here typing about how the steps apply to that 95% as much as they apply to the dope.

Recovery with the 12 steps involves a constant review of my actions, my thoughts, my spiritual condition. It involves my sponsor and her perspective on my actions, my thoughts, and my spiritual condition.

Side note: it’s really hard to spot self-deception all by myself. My sponsor is crucial to my continued recovery and survival.

With all that said, here is my year in review:

  • Sunshine and I celebrated our first anniversary. That’s huge, because it’s the third marriage for each of us and we both swore there would never be a third marriage. I don’t regret one moment I’ve spent with him.
  • We’ve made tremendous progress on our little house. In spite of my frustration with the unfinished house, I have to admit that we’re getting somewhere with it.
  • I finally feel connected to my nuclear family again. I don’t know what changed (me or them or both), but my sister’s wedding & our Christmas dinner were good. They were really good, and I’m grateful.
  • I learned to can things: jams, pickles, tomatoes, peppers. This is a new skill, and it meshes really well with my desire to live more simply, smaller, with more connection to the world around me.
  • I got some help with my anxiety. I’m not under treatment by the mental health practitioner yet (this is an indictment of our heartless health care system), but my primary practioner is willing to prescribe until she can hand that part of my care off to them. Gratitude is an inadequate word for what I feel
  • I know there’s more, but I don’t want to get too wordy and bore you to death.

For 2018, I want to:

  • Keep Sunshine around. This involves working my recovery program so he wants to stick around, it involves the words “What can I do to help you with that?”, it involves autonomy (like letting him go hunting as often as he desires without giving him a lot of shit about it), it involves communication (which is an area where I can always use some improvements).
  • Drop some weight. About 30 to 35 pounds. I intend to do this through lifestyle changes instead of hopping on the fad-diet de jour. 
  • Get my blood pressure and cholesterol under control. The weight loss would help, certainly. I’ve reached a point of desperation with my physical health very much like the desperation that drove me to get clean. I want to get healthier.
  • Finish our house. I’m sick to death of wintering in an RV. I’m also sick to death of the never-ending game of tetris my life has become in said RV; knowing that so much fucking space is available to me a short walk down the hill AND I CAN’T FUCKING USE IT is making me ratuck crazy.
  • Explore new ideas for generating income/revenue, both for myself and this fledgling intentional community here. My body can’t take another firewood season at work, no matter how much I love my job and my boss.
  • Continue attempting to develop strong bonds with my mom and my brother and my sister. I say attempting because I can’t control whether or not they reciprocate the attempts. As long as I do my part to try, I can be OK with myself and the universe.
  • There’s a lot more, but that could bore you to tears and I think this list is a very good starting point.

I don’t normally do this sort of thing, because I’m so tired of the broken promises to myself; however, it’s hard to spot self-deception by myself. Maybe just putting it out here on the internet, where nothing ever really goes away, will help me stay focused; and maybe you guys will call me on my shit when I get distracted or forget to be grateful.

Thank you all for your company over this past year. I enjoy having you follow along with my journey, and I thoroughly enjoy following you on yours. My wish for you and yours can be summed up by this Irish blessing:

May you have . . .
enough happiness to keep you sweet,
enough trials to keep you strong,
enough sorrow to keep you human,
enough hope to keep you happy,
enough failure to keep you humble,
enough success to keep you eager,
enough wealth to meet your needs,
enough enthusiasm to look forward,
enough friends to give you comfort,
enough faith to banish depression,
enough determination to make each day
better than yesterday

Another photo dump

I am going to need storage in the living room. Lots of it. Sunshine’s  studio/workshop is planned, but won’t be a reality for a bit after we get moved into the house. We have lots of stuffs, and I don’t like looking at all that stuffs.

We start running into problems when we try to choose storage units.  I like really industrial or post-apocalyptic units. He does not.

We had come to an agreement on agreement on a unit at ikea. We were going to buy two of them and stack them.

However, he didn’t want to order right away and now ikea doesn’t offer that unit anymore.

So we’ve been looking. And looking. And looking some more.

These are the ones that we can both live with. Now we just have to figure out how to get this look/feeling on a budget, because going with custom cabinets and brand new appliances meant the budget took a hit.

Side note: we had hoped to reuse, repurpose, etcetera. But we really didn’t want to buy someone else’s headache appliances; and actually finding cabinets that fit my desires AND our measurements was getting ridiculously hard.

Sometimes, compromise is no fun. Why can’t he just let me have the units I really wanted?

Who cares if they look like cages to him?

Final note: I guess I care that he doesn’t like them. He’s been more than accommodating when it comes to what I need or want in this house. I’ll  meet him halfway on this.