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.

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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.

The upside to small town living

I ship a lot of things around the country. Now that I have penpals in Canada and Australia, I send a lot of things to various parts of the globe. It would be confusing as hell for me to figure out the most economical way to mail and ship things if I had to do it alone.

Enter the postmaster at our local post office.

He’s a genius. After the first couple of times I brought stuff in to ship via USPS, he looked at me and told me that from now on I should just bring whatever it was up there and let him figure out the most economical way to ship it.

I took him at his word, and I have never regretted it. I have wandered up to his window with the most random assortments of shit, and he never bats an eye. I sort it out into piles and we attack one pile at a time until he has gotten them all ready to ship, and it definitely has saved me a lot of money over doing it my way.

side note: he has saved me so much money that I have actually become emboldened to ship more shit across the country, so in the end it wasn’t much savings after all LOL

I have a funny feeling that, should I ever be sick or otherwise incapacitated, I could stick some shit in the mailbox with a note to the delivery guy to “please take this to Justin and have him ship this for me”, include the address it goes to, and enclose a signed blank check; and I’d get a tracking number and receipt in my mailbox the next day.

It doesn’t get any better than that. I would never have dared to try such a stunt at any other post office I have dealt with; they would have had me arrested for domestic terrorism for dumping 6 piles of random shit on their counter and placing a note with an address atop each pile.

Living in such a rural area, I am presented with so many opportunities to build relationships with the people around me. My next-door-neighbor taught me to can jam. The neighbor across the street has come over and fixed the lawnmower on the spot so that I could finish cutting grass. The neighbor at the end of the road has enlisted Sunshine’s talent for summer art classes at the local creative arts center. The local farm supply & hardware store knows that Sunshine’s purchases often belong under Mr B’s farm account to exempt them from sales tax and will always ask if the purchase should be handled that way; they also get upset when Sunshine comes in without Mollie.

This is part of what we were hoping to achieve when we made the decision to come here and try and start an intentional community. We were hoping to be able to connect with people instead of just having impersonal interactions with them. None of us are islands; we are meant to know each other. That is a huge part of what life is about for me these days, and I’m so glad that I get to live this way.

Learning from others

I recently read a post from The Eco-Feminist that talked about her journey to becoming a mother. As an adopted child, it gave me a glimpse into what my own mother went through to become my mother. It made me cry, it made my heart swell with love, and it made me so fucking proud of the woman I know as mom.

I sent my mom an email with a link to that post, and a little bit of mushy “I love you” stuff about how I had never really thought about what she went through to adopt me.

Well, I had occasion to think about it again yesterday. I called my mom, just a routine “how are you, I love you” call. She answered the phone with “I was wondering if you’d call today”….

…which sent me into a panic, wondering what the hell I was forgetting that I totally shouldn’t be forgetting.

Turns out, yesterday was the anniversary of the day she and my dad took 3-month-old me home from foster care and became my parents.

side note: to make it even better, that day was also my mom’s father’s birthday. I miss my Papa. He was so cool!

I had never thought about that day as a big deal, because I am not a mother and never much wanted to be a mother. However, as I talked to my mom, I realized that it was a big fucking deal to her. I asked her if she had read that post, and she said that she did. She said that she could absolutely relate, and she was happy that this wonderful woman has a chance to become a mother at last.

Had I never read that post, I might have gone the rest of my life not really thinking about what my mom went through to become my mom.I mean, logically, I know that adoption is a long and drawn out process. I knew that there was paperwork, and social workers, and home visits, and more paperwork, and financial disclosures, and appointments, and more paperwork. But I had never thought about the emotional aspect.

Maybe because my mother always struck me as so very pragmatic, I never thought about how much hope and fear she went through trying to adopt a child. My mom was always fairly emotionally reserved in front of people. Throughout the six years of daddy’s illness, I never saw her cry for very long, I never saw her despair, I never saw her really seem like she was overwhelmed and on the verge of a total breakdown.

My adoption was always presented to me in a very matter-of-fact way. I’ve always known I was adopted, for as long as I can remember. The DFACS (Department of Family and Children’s Services) office had given my mom a little box set of books to help her explain to me that I was adopted (I still have those books); even before I could read, I knew those books were for me and they were about being adopted. It was always explained to me that I was not unwanted by my biological mother; she just knew that she, at 16 years old, couldn’t take care of a child as she would WANT to take care of a child and so she gave that child up for adoption in the hopes that this child would indeed be taken care of as a child should be cared for.

I always felt fortunate and loved. I was loved so much by two mothers that one of them went through the hell of giving up her child, and the other went through the hell of the adoption process to become the mother of that child. I was fortunate, because that child was me. Anytime anyone ever asked me if I ever wanted to know about my “real” parents, I was rather befuddled, because in my mind I HAD real parents. My mom and dad are the only mom and dad I’ve ever known, and they were damn fine parents. They were my real parents; I couldn’t understand why people didn’t think that mom and dad were my real parents. Of course I always had curiosity about my biological parents, but I never felt any overriding need to know more or meet them. I had my parents, and that was that. I understood that opening up the sealed case files might cause that woman great pain, as she might not have told her current family that she had once given up a child; or it might cause her great pain to know that I merely wanted to meet her to satisfy curiosity but had no need of a relationship with her.

side note: my mom offered repeatedly to help me have the files unsealed. I never took her up on it. I had a mom, and that was that.

After I hung up the phone, I went into the calendar function on my phone. I set a reminder for a yearly event for yesterday’s date, so that I can call my mom on her dad’s birthday every year from now on, and thank her for becoming my mom. I wasn’t always a good kid, because addiction is a motherfucker. No matter how much hell I put my mother through, she never quit loving me. I am the luckiest shithead in the world, because my adoptive mom is the truest definition of “mother” I have ever known of, and I am so grateful for that.

So this year, as Father’s Day approaches, I am thinking about my mother. That woman amazes me. She loved me no matter what. She raised three children basically on her own, because my father was sick for many years before he died; she had to be both mother and father to us. I couldn’t ask for a more wonderful mom; and I’ll have to make it a point to call her on father’s day and thank her for being her wonderful, beautiful self that did the job of two parents for a large portion of my childhood.

final note: I’m about to cry now, so I’m going to go clean house or something to distract myself so I don’t cry because I am fighting a sinus infection that is causing some really ugly vertigo as a result.

Growing and preserving my own food

So I’ve got the hang of this blanching thing, and I’ve been slowly but surely rounding up all the cauliflower and getting it stashed in the freezer. I think I’m going to try some mashed cauliflower at some point in the future. It has to be better for Sunshine’s diabetes than mashed potatoes, right?

Well, Thursday, instead of taking it easy before a marathon day at work on Friday, I decided to go harvest more cauliflower and get it frozen. Turns out, most of it was ready.

cauliflower almost done for this cycle

After I got done with that, I wandered the garden trying to see what did and didn’t start growing from the sprouts I grew. A lot of things didn’t grow: carrots, peppers, squash, eggplant, tomatoes, a significant portion of my snap peas, and some of the lima beans. I’m sure I’m forgetting something else, but fuck it.

I found a tray of squash sprouts that nobody had planted, so I planted those in the empty spot where the okra sprouts didn’t grow.

planted squash

I realized that there was nowhere to plant half of the stuff I needed to plant, because Sunshine and Mr B had planted a lot of turnips in the garden. I went to sunshine crying about how there was no room to plant anything I like to eat because the entire garden had been planted with things he and Mr B liked to eat, like lettuce and turnips and shit.

Sunshine wandered out to the garden with me and helped me think and plan. He took a look at his radishes and said that they were ready to be harvested, so he helped me pull those up and we found this monster potato sized radish growing in our garden.

I decided to plant peppers where the cauliflower came out, and multicolored carrots where the radishes were. I went over to the far northwest corner of the plowed area and planted eggplant and okra.

planted eggplant and okra

I had a little space free at the end of a row of lima beans that I used to plant some kohlrabi for Sunshine since he likes turnips and radishes and shit so much. I still need to find space to plant some green beans, black eyed peas, and other bean type stuff. Like, I still can’t figure out why we have so much lettuce and so little beans in our garden. Maybe as some of the lettuces run their course it will free up space for beans and peas and shit.