exiting the wild for a while

i've been in arizona for a little over a week now.  i am staying at my friends cassie & nathan's house.  cassie has an online jewelry business which i will be working for through the holidays.  so far, much of my time has been filled with having a job again and spending time with my old friends.  

here is a visual update of what this last week has looked like :

3 beautiful zenned out creations.  the inside of that ring is inscribed with : shine like the whole universe is inside you

3 beautiful zenned out creations.  the inside of that ring is inscribed with : shine like the whole universe is inside you

cassie at her work bench, a moondog at her feet. 

cassie at her work bench, a moondog at her feet. 

me packaging (with my new 'do & bad attempt of being 'fancy')

me packaging (with my new 'do & bad attempt of being 'fancy')

moon at work

moon at work

it's been so great to spend time with cassie, she such an old friend.  both of us are from indiana but we traveled europe together in our early twenties and lived in france.  we have not lived in the same state in nearly 8 years, our lives have been so different in that time and yet we have remained so close in spirit.  it will be nice to be here and spend an extended period of time with her and her wonderful husband.  i am also grateful and happy to have a job again, i have about exhausted my bank account and now can rejuvenate my resources.  i am parked in cassie & nathan's backyard, they are gracious hosts.  

while i was at the petrified forest, i realized that my radiator leak was serious.  and when i arrived last week, i knew it was a priority to fix.  nathan's friend, tom who is a mechanic, took a quick look and confirmed that it was the water pump.  i called several mechanics and got some outrageous quotes but finally found a reasonable price.  she's now fixed.  i'm figuring that she's doing pretty good considering she sat for a long time before i had her and part of our relationship, i put no money into mechanical work before we left and now i've invested about a thousand into her, and we driven about 2500 miles, and i haven't paid rent to a landlord in two months.  so, i'm not worried about her health yet. 

here is the honey in the backyard :

the honey in her new setting, moon shadow at the bottom. 

the honey in her new setting, moon shadow at the bottom. 

this living style is strange back in the 'real world'.  in the forest it's easy to live in the honey, peaceful, freeing.  the road is exciting and scary and hopeful.  while i am happy to be living in the honey parked in my friends' backyard, there is a big adjustment from the wildness of the world i have experienced outside this fence the honey now sits inside.  there is a sort of quirky role you have to assume when you are a domesticated wild thing, though i'm figuring out how to main authenticity.

because of processing these things, spending lovely friend time, and working, i have not been active in the studio, though i am always active in my brain (and really should get back into the practice of using the sketchbook as a visual representation and notation for these brain activities).  this input/output flux of making work is something i think a lot about.  i am missing teaching, though i am happy for this 'sabbatical' i have created for myself to experience that wildness / the unknown, to learn about about myself, to devote real time to developing to my practice...  all of which will make me a more effective teacher.  i have been thinking about how teaching can (and does) continue in my life.  because of complicated beliefs and feelings i have about the education system (though i am a huge supported of learning), i doubt that i will be looking for tenure track jobs, but i have loved adjunct work despite the pittance of a paycheck, but besides, i don't think one should teach for such monetary reasons.  i am sure i will find myself back in the classroom, what that classroom will look like is what i am unsure of.

after this pause with working a job, i will retreat to the mesa in taos at my friend's off grid home for a few months to make work.  until then i will be sending you updates of sketchbooks and mail art (let me know if i have reached out already or if you want some love letters).  i also hope to make some needed adjustments to honey, mainly installing my composting toilet, fixing the stove situation, building some shelves, and fixing the battery box (however these are things that can get accomplished in taos as well).     

in the desert

i left santa fe a few days ago.  i had a wonderful time with my sister, her children and dogs and friends.  i took lots of walks, made some work, laughed a lot.  my sister, dawn, is an amazing woman.  she's an incredibly talented tattooer (see her work here), an awesome mom, a juggler and unicyclist, and overall rad lady.  spending an extended period of time with her was awesome and i am really excited about coming back to new mexico and learning from her!

my very dear friend, justin who lives in taos, came down to santa fe and stayed in the honey with me.  it was so good to spend time with him between his amazing adventures.  justin works for earthship biotecture and travels the world on various builds.  you can see one of his amazing projects here.

after i am done working in arizona, i am going up to taos to stay at justin's tiny house on the mesa, he's going to be in new zealand working on a build all winter.  i am excited to have a plan after january, a warm place to spend the winter in his lil house, a diy artist residency.  i am so grateful to him for giving me the space, since i have the time, to make some serious work.  

here are some pictures of cute kids and animals, ya might want to flip through:

after i left santa fe, i drove west to arizona.  the first night, i stayed at a casino.  then i drove to the petrified forest national park.  at first, i was only going to drive through it and stop at a few vistas, but i was really enamored with the landscape and so when the museum worker told me of a free rv park right before the park entrance, i knew i was going to stay for another day.  the rv park was in the back of a gem and souvenir shop, the campground was called 'crystal forest rv park'.  i met some young people who were traveling the country in their van.  we had dinner together and decided to go on off the beaten trail hikes together in morning.

the landscape was out of this world.  it was scattered with ancient remnants of a prehistoric forest.  the desert seemed alien and was painted with crazy blues, purples, and whites.

check out these photos! :

i made it to tempe yesterday.  i will be here through the holidays to work for my beautiful and talented BFF cassie uhl's business zenned out jewelry.  check out her etsy shop for your holiday gift needs, i'll probably help make it!

things are good.  the desert is bringing clarity.  the animals are happy and doing well.  moon loves the hikes and justin said poe seems friendlier (as she's kind of a disgruntled cat).  the honey is doing alright, i think (or know) i have a leak in my radiator hose, i'll get it looked at after this weekend, no big hassle though.  i'm learning a lot about what i am cable of, it's a lot more than i thought.  

i made some mail for some lovelies.  more to come soon. 

for shamara 

for shamara 

for ottie 

for ottie 

maybe for you ...

maybe for you ...

forgotten places

i left all my troubles in the midwest.    driving from Missouri to new mexico, i traveled as much as the mother road as possible, but we have butchered that original road so much that i ended up weaving in & out for those old and new roads.  originally, i had planned on stopping at all the roadside attractions i could, but i was uncomfortable with the culturally appropriated sights and found myself stopping for very little.  to my surprise, i loved some religious attractions, not the largest cross in the western hemisphere (as i am attracted to excess), but the holy family cemetery, with its beautiful grotto, touched me in a serious way in all its eerie glory.  

here are a series of photos from the holy family cemetery in canute oklahoma and the old territorial jail in texola, ok:

these images, along with the images from the giant blue whale in catoosa oklahoma, combined with my increasing awareness of cultural appropriation, have been inspiring me to look towards the histories of my childhood, my culture, in hopes to retell stories that have been oppressive or misinterpreted.  what if i were to make grottos for my heroines or if i rewrote the story of jonah and the whale?  what if that forgotten highway that once connected our two coasts, became the setting for a tale that rewrote its cultural history?

i am trying to make everyday.  sending out the evidence.

for richard 

for richard 

still for richard 

still for richard 

i spent halloween in small north texas town.  the journey to this place was filled with abandoned spaces.  i searched them as if i was looking for something long lost.  i found nothing but these remnants:

i thought about this forgotten road and about my grandmother who died while i was still a tiny babe.  she grew up in texas but moved to indiana when she was 17.  i wondered how she made this passage and if she traveled the old road i am driving down.  even if i was making up a tale in my mind, it felt good to be connected to her, as it has felt good to be connected to all my family during this journey.  

i am now in santa fe staying with my sister and her sweet family.  it's getting cold here and i am looking forward to the relief of arizona weather.  i am thinking of coming back here to stay for a longer period of time.  i am also concerned with traveling greater distances.  it feels uncertain; it feels so clear.  

i am writing letters i will send out and letters that will sit in boxes unread.

 

the mother road

i left indiana on sunday.  now, it’s wednesday evening and i am in bristow oklahoma, between tulsa and okc.  

it was hard time getting myself to leave evansville sunday and i drove later in the night than i initially had desired.  i arrived in berryman park, in the mark twain national forest in missouri, sunday evening with little trouble.  i told myself when i got honey to never night drive but i did it anyway.  and it was really hard, i missed a turn, backed into a tree stump and bent the bumper some, and it was totally anxiety ridden. though it proved panicking never helps, even though i wasn’t ‘freaking out’, there was that heart racing happening in the middle of my chest… calming down and then dealing with a situation is what’s needed.  life lesson exemplified.

for rachel.  finally making some mail for people who have helped me out. 

for rachel.  finally making some mail for people who have helped me out. 

still for rachel. 

still for rachel. 

when i arrived in the park, i didn’t even try to find a camp site and just parked in the parking lot.  in the morning i found a nice site, though it was shaded by trees so i lost power at one point the next night.  monday, moon and i hiked several miles.  i chose this campground because it is free and has access to a 24 mile trail.  we arrived back to the camp before sundown.  i made a drawing, wrote a letter, made a silly video, read a comic, lost power, read by lantern.  there was a thunderstorm in the early early morning.  i was the only person there except for a few day visitors.  it is eerie to be somewhere without people and no phone service.

moon trail 

moon trail 

i left late in the morning on tuesday and took my time driving and made it just west of springfield missouri.  unsure of where i was and wanting to be around people some, i stayed at a koa campground.  it was a little expensive.  this is the second koa i have stayed at, and i can tell that they must all different.  the first one was just sweet, this one was more business but i liked both for different reasons.  both were surprised when i said i had an rv but i didn’t need hookups, not wanting to pay for an amenity i wasn’t going to use.  when i was paying for my lot, the lady told me they had pizza and you could order by phone and they would deliver it your campsite!  i splurged and had pizza and beer that night. 

at koa campground.  poe and reflected house. 

at koa campground.  poe and reflected house. 

today i drove south west of tulsa and i am staying in a walmart parking lot.  i stopped long the way to some road side attractions.  i drove route 66 when i could and braved the highway when i couldn’t.  honey goes a cool 55, maybe 60.  i could have stayed in tulsa or okc and stayed with friends of friends but wanted a break from people.  

rewriting bible stories: sarah, moon, and the whale 

rewriting bible stories: sarah, moon, and the whale 

if i look from the right angle in the honey, it seems like i am living in some studio apartment in a big city.  noise from the parking lot and near distant highway, my shades drawn with lights from the walmart shining through.  and a few days before i was living quietly, miles away from another person, in the woods.  all from within the honey, i am experiencing the most powerful game of make-believe i could imagine as a child.  

i will continue to travel west and have plans stopping for several days in santa fe and then in taos before heading to arizona.  from here to new mexico will consist of road side attractions and walmart parking lots.

i will leave today with this text message from my dad:

my mom reminded me i had posted photos of everyone but my dad, and i said i didn't have a photo, so my dad sent me this selfie he took with me.  cute. 

my mom reminded me i had posted photos of everyone but my dad, and i said i didn't have a photo, so my dad sent me this selfie he took with me.  cute. 

into the wildness

for the past week and half, i have been in my hometown of evansville indiana.  this is the longest i have been in this town since i left over a decade ago.  it has been filled with lots of big feeeeelings.  putting those feelings into words and finding the time to write has been difficult.  

the honey had to go to the hospital again.  i tried to start her last thursday to no avail, so i brought her into a shop and they said she needed a new carburetor, mine had been hemorrhaging gasoline all over my engine and honey had been toeing the line of combustion.  they rebuilt the carb and now she drives better than ever.  hopefully this is the last mechanical work we'll have to do for a while. i have yet to feel frustrated with her ailments, it seems natural and i've been lucky that she has gotten sick in places that are safe and filled with love.  

since i had another big expense, my brother, who works in construction, gave me a job painting an ice cream joint.  i figured i'd be doing boring painting jobs like the ones i did to put me through my first year of grad school, but instead i got to paint this rad sign.  i tried to channel my love, anne marie o'neill, you can see her work on instagram.  

sign painting

along with spending time with my family, i saw people and places i use know so well.  when i was a teenager, i worked at a community center geared towards giving safe spaces for children in the downtown area.  i worked in the art studios and gardens, teaching children about expression and self care through the act of getting one's hands dirty, in soil and clay and paint.  my nieces now go there after school and i visited several times.  it's strange to me to see this photo from 15 years ago, despite running away from this town and that life, i have been dedicating myself to same things over the years.  everything has changed; nothing has changed.  

1999

1999

i saw old friends who have spawned new lives.  cole, one of my closest friends from this town, and i had lost track of one another when we both started traveling after college.  amazingly enough, he is now in partnership with another dear friend from high school, gail, and they have made this amazing child.  we all spend as much time as we could, reconnecting and catching up.  it is amazing to me that our lives can diverge and yet we are on the same path.  

i also saw my high school boyfriend.  we hadn't spoke since breaking up my second year of college.  he came over to my parents house with his three year old daughter and we awkwardly and wonderfully filled each other in on how our lives turned out without one another.  i am so happy for the life he has, as i am so happy and grateful for the life i live.   

me and ender (cole and gail's sweet one)

me and ender (cole and gail's sweet one)

and then there was family.

as personal as this blog is, i can't speak about this in specifics.  maybe it's because i don't have the words.  

i can say it was wonderful, and so fun, and sad, and hard.  if you have family, i am sure you can relate. 

my brothers: dan on my left, dustin on my right

my brothers: dan on my left, dustin on my right

my beautiful mother and moon

my beautiful mother and moon

i set out again tomorrow.  this is the saddest i have ever been leaving indiana.  perhaps it was because before i was always leaving to 'go home'... but i said goodbye to that home a month ago and this time i am leaving into the wildness.  

luckily, because sadness is a feeling, it will pass.  and i have a journey to look forward to.  i am excited to spend a few days in mark twain national forest.  i found a free campground next to a 24 mile trail i am looking forward to exploring.  after that there are some unclear plans to brave oklahoma and texas.  i am going to take route 66 (the mother road) as much as possible.  i want to experience the classic america as we pave 'better' roads and nature takes back the ones we have forgotten.  

route

route

wheels and heels getting me places 

wheels and heels getting me places 

art is more than product, it is also that which we absorb. 

work is coming.  those forests and roadways will provide more than shelter and trails.  

i'll be touch, hopefully sooner than you expect.

xo

s

safe havens

this morning i drank coffee with a rad lady while we quietly listened to crust and doom, so to not wake up the other inhabitants of 'faggle rock', a queer punk house in bloomington indiana.  

yesterday, after a super lovely visit with my family, i left findlay ohio.  knowing that the drive from findlay to evansville indiana, where my parents & brothers live and my next long(ish) stopover,  was too far for me to drive in a day, i began to look for a good place to stay for a night.  i knew 1.)  i didn't want to pay for a campsite, 2.) didn't want to park at a walmart, and 3.) needed a break from family matters/needed time with other radical queer folks.  i contacted a few punk houses i knew of in the bloomington area and ended up with the nicest people, who made me a pot pie and then we watched 'the crow' and stayed up until the wee hours talking.  

along with brilliant company, my hostess gave me awesome presents:

a wonderful (and sad) comic scout made about growing up misgendered and the struggle of trans identity.  

a wonderful (and sad) comic scout made about growing up misgendered and the struggle of trans identity.  

i can't thank my bloomington hostess(es) enough!  i will be sending y'all some really good things in the mail soon! 


despite the drive from bloomington to evansville being a mere few hours, i didn't arrive at my parents house until mid afternoon.  i spent some quality time with my ma, while we waited for my dad, my brothers, and nieces.  once everyone convened, we ate an awesome meal my mom prepared, i talked with my brother, dustin, and his kids, jasmine and jerriah, for a long time, we looked at photo albums, laughed, explored honey.  honey is parked down the street in a vacant area of my parents' housing development, they don't have room in their driveway/street (or maybe they don't want to bother the neighbors, in all likelihood).  since she's a lil ways away and in a neighborhood, i figured it best to not sleep in her while we are here, which i am a lil bummed about.  moon and poe and i are tucked inside the spare room of my parents' house.  when i moved poe from her perch on the loft bed, she was pissed and is now hiding under the bed.  moon's dreaming next to me, her little paws twitching, so i think she's happy.  

i'm really excited to spend time with these folks.  my nieces are really amazing, interesting, funny people.  my brother, dustin, is the best dad (plus, all those awesome things about my nieces definitely come from him).  my brother dan, is quiet but not without a good sense of humor and tenderness.  and my parents are loving and fun people.  this week will be packed with family time and planning the trek west.  i am looking forward to carving out a few days, once the journey picks back up, to hang out in some woods and make some paintings/write some letters.  

 

an upswing

this morning, i took honey into 'northside auto and truck' to get a new gas tank... since unfortunately there was a crack around the seam of her tank.  they gave me a ride back to my aunt's house and a few hours i received a call saying that it was all fixed. if you're stranded in findlay ohio, i highly recommend this mechanic, they were so nice and honest with me.  now there is no more smell of gasoline, no more drips in the driveway, and hopefully better gas milage.   

another good thing i forgot to mention in my last post is that the insurance company of the woman who hit me is taking liability for the accident, so hopefully i can restore honey to her full glory once i get settled in the desert.  

my mom went back to indiana this morning and i will make my way to indiana tomorrow morning, where i will stay for a week visiting my folks, my brothers, my nieces, and some friends.  then it'll be time for the long road to the southwest.  

a friend reminded me that mercury is in retrograde, which means things break and go wrong... but it'll get better.  i can't say it enough, this project is testing me but i'm ready for it... i can take it on.  

it's been so wonderful to be with family, but i am getting antsy to make some work... especially because i need to make some nice things for some nice people who have donated to the project.  

this is my favorite part about visiting my family, lots of card playing

this is my favorite part about visiting my family, lots of card playing

i can't wait to get to arizona where my bff awaits me and to work for her company, zenned out!

i can't wait to get to arizona where my bff awaits me and to work for her company, zenned out!

i've been receiving a lot of support in many different ways.  i want to share some things some friends have said to me:

nick z quoted mark twain in a text message: "twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than the things you did.  so throw off the bowlines.  sail away from safe harbor.  catch the trade winds in your sails.  explore.  dream.  discover."

anne marie says in a text: "think of it really in terms of making art.  it is never easy to start, it never turns out exactly how you plan it, but the process strengthens your skills and teaches, and the result is usually an incredibly satisfying experience."  plus that she loves me.  

marietta posts wonderful links to horoscopes and mine for the week was right on beginning with "problems are sacred solutions in disguise".

then there is my family, who have got me contact with kind people to fix honey up and who have put up with me and distracted me during these moments of frustration. 

also, i want to thank lissa, beth, and jim for their donations.  i will be sending you (and the other folks who have donated) some presents once i am done visiting with my family. 

i'm meditating on your love and support.  

one thing after another

luckily, while everything is going wrong, i am in findlay ohio where i have family who have been so helpful.  my aunt took me to a wonderful body shop and they 'fixed' my headlight to make us legal.  but while i was there, they noticed something that had been worrying me as well... a smell of gas.  so, we looked underneath honey to discover a leak in the gas tank.  

my cousin, hooked me up with a mechanic and on monday honey will get a new gas tank.  this means though, that my initial plan of driving back to indiana with my mom will not be happening.  she'll fly back to indiana on monday and i will hopefully be on the road on tuesday.  

fixing honey
new headlight & blackeye

i feel as though i am being tested in every possible way.  yesterday, after learning about the unexpected expense of the gas tank, i lost it a little.  i went on a long walk with mom and we discussed the project, her worries, my worries, i cried a lot and confessed doubt.  my mom is worried that i am doing this 'on a song and a prayer' with my limited funds, which is true, but i have faith that it will come together and i will get to where i need to be.  maybe it's naive, maybe it's courageous, maybe it's stupid, maybe it's all those things.  

i am reminded though, at every obstacle why i am doing this.  when i got my light repaired, the guy fixing it was asking me a lot of questions about my travels so far and about my plans.  we talked for a long time.  he told me so much about his life and i listened and connected with him.  and i think about how important these interactions are.  people want to tell their stories, they want to be heard, but we as a culture rarely have time to listen.  listening and connecting is undervalued.  instead we bury ourselves in our phones, we are too hurried to connect.  but in these moments of crisis, i am finding laughter and tenderness with strangers.  living in honey forces me to connect, and people seem to find it easy to share things me perhaps because i am sharing something with them.  

a side note, the furry babies i live with are doing great:

poe
moon

i can't really tell how i am doing.  i feel lost and on track simultaneously.  the last few days, i have been worrying a lot about 'the future', probably because as wonderful as family is, they ask these questions which i don't have answers to.  living in the present is hard.  what about the future?  where will i be, what will do?  

because of all this unexpected mess and the time i am investing with my family i have not been making work.  don't worry though, i will be.  and i can't wait to send some lovely things to those of you who have supported me.

sending my love to y'all.  

an eventful 24 hours

after the accident, i found my way to a walmart where i parked for the night.  i connected with some friends and (a lil reluctantly) with some family.  i was bummed, felt a lil defeated, but slept soundly under parking lights.  

this morning, i woke up early ready to make the 150 miles to findley ohio to my aunt's house.  i have noticed that honey (much like me) does not get going very well in the morning, but so far she always starts after a few tries.  this morning: nothing.  so, i hitchhiked to a gas station and back with my 5 gallon can, thinking that maybe she was just thirsty.  she seems to only want to start after sitting for a night with at least a half tank of gas.  after i gave her a drink, still nothing. so, i called AAA and waited.  i got breakfast (a luxury i haven't really afforded myself) and got moon a new dog tag at the petsmart which was in the parking lot (her's was illegible).  after an hour, AAA still hadn't showed up and had called informing me that they were delayed, so i tried again and she started up.  so we went.  

i am now parked in front of my aunt's house.  she's picking my mom up from the airport in Detroit now, they should be back around dinner.  after a few days of visiting, my mom and i will drive back to indiana in the honey, where she lives with my dad and where i grew up.  it's odd to be in the driveway of this house.  my grandmother lived in michigan and we lived in indiana, this house was, many times, a meeting point for our family.  and i should note that my family on my mom's side (but really both) is matriarchal.  i don't remember men being around, just a lot of women playing cards until the wee hours.  they are nice memories.  so, i am happy to be here and be apart of our matriarchal clan as a grown woman.  

the new day brings new perspective.  its a real bummer about the accident.  but it wasn't my fault and i did everything i could to make it not happen (though even it was my fault, it's still an accident and not 'an on purpose' - like my mom would say), some things are unavoidable.  everyday i draw more parallels between me and honey.  things crash into us and we brace ourselves, we scarred and damaged but still running, we might not be beautiful from every angle on the outside but the inside is fucking beautiful and i made it that way (both in the honey and in my heart).

this journey is good, though bumpy.  i can feel myself mellowing out, that high strung nature that i fight all the time is dissipating with every set back.  i am kinder, i make jokes with strangers more often and watch them smile, i connect more, i have yet to make work - but i'm still figuring this thing out, the studio is there and will be used.  a former self, would be focusing on all that is fucked up.  but i am mostly thinking about what is wonderful: the honey runs and is comfortable - a wonderful lil home, i have support from friends and family, my furry babies are so funny and are the best companions, i catch myself smiling so hard it hurts while i drive, i sing really loud, i have yet to meet a rude or unengaged person (minus the cop from the accident).

i'll let you know what happens to honey after she sees a mechanic, hopefully it will be tomorrow or friday.  

this is me and inside honey.  moon is next to me, poe is above.  we are parked, safe and happy.

this is me and inside honey.  moon is next to me, poe is above.  we are parked, safe and happy.


First day

After a few set backs, which I did sort out (roof leaks, a minor meltdown, etc), I left Sherman drive. 

I thought I had internet and downloaded all these nice photographs of Sherman drive and most of the day then deleted them from my phone - yeah I'm writing this on my phone. I'll post them soon, cuz they are nice. I'll try not to do a lot of back tracking.  

After my last post, my best friend(s) came and sent me farewell, I received some wonderful and needed donations (I'm sending y'all sumthing good soon), I repaired some leaks, I moved outta Sherman drive, I said good bye, I cried a lot.  

Today was the first day on the road. So far so good. Poe, my cat, is great. She's loving the windows, she roams honey as I drive. Moon, my dog, is great when we are stopped - but when I turn on the honey, she tries to get under my legs so she's in a crate during travels (for now). 

I left late morning. I am In Cooperstown New York now. I thought about staying at a walmart tonight since there are no national forests where I am. But I decided the first night should hold comfort. I'm at a koa campground. There were horse and buggies on the road it's on. I told the guy my story, he only charged me 15 bucks. Not bad for showers and niceties in a remote but 'on the way' place. 

Here is what's happening during camping:

 

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There are more nice photos on my computer. I'll post em soon! 

Thanks for all your support. The love and goodness is overwhelming, it makes this less scary. Because this is scary, hence meltdown. But it's cool. I've got this. Though, keep that love coming and I'll be sure to send it back.  

Xo

 

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learning

well...

it's october first and in my vision, i'd be on the road.  but i am a few days off schedule.  it's been raining here since last night and that fabric ceiling tells no lies.  it has revealed four leaks.  luckily, it'll stop raining tomorrow, i will patch up the roof in those spots, and since the ceiling is fabric the wood and insulation will dry and it'll be right as rain soon enough.  already, this project is beautiful exercise of perseverance and learning to roll with the punches.  

good things:  i have music, until today the honey had no radio.  it's imperative that i have music lest i go crazy after a few hours of silent driving.  my tag sale was successful enough and put a little dough in my pocket.  i have had many wonderful moments with loved ones, sharing beers and stories in the honey.  i received my first donation on the blog!  thank you rachel!  i am picking my best friend up from the bus stop in a few hours, she'll be seeing honey for the first time.  i am nearly moved in and *almost* moved out of sherman drive. 

scary things:  i don't currently have enough money to get to arizona (where i'll be working in mid november through the christmas season for zenned out) ... maybe not enough to get to indiana.  i am hoping that things fall into place concerning my financial situation.  it will work out.  but this is an open call for help:  you can donate easily on the blog (see that button the right?), it would go to food and gas as i travel until i get on my feet in the desert where i have work and a support system.  please consider it.  also, if you donate i will send you a painting from the road.  

you can see those leaks on the ceiling :(

you can see those leaks on the ceiling :(

today i drove to get my stereo installed and tested how secure things were.  everything stayed in place.  

today i drove to get my stereo installed and tested how secure things were.  everything stayed in place.  

here i am in the autumn air on a rainy day, feeling it all; i've said 'goodbye for nows' to so many people i love dearly, that compounded with moving into a dwelling with leaky ceilings (for the moment) with no money is creating welling of moisture in my eyes.  my mantras are as followed: "it's going to be okay, you got this" and "self care/preservation is the most radical thing you can do". 

this project is about making art, connecting with loved ones, connecting with strangers, learning to be totally self reliant, also learning to ask for help, learning to be powerful and capable of all obstacles.  i must remind myself, i am already powerful.  

me

*** i am a little behind on my emails, i have been feeling a tad overwhelmed and i want to sit and really write while i am heartfelt and present to those of you who have send me notes.  you are on my mind and i will be in touch soon.  

so close

good news

  • the honey was looked by a mechanic, she'd okay.  it only cost me $40.
  • the honey was inspected ... and passed!  
  • there is a ceiling.
  • my amazing friend, emily, gave me a sweet memory foam mattress, i will sleep better than i ever have before.
  • the solar panels are wired and working.
  • i've moved in a couple of things.

things to be done still...

move in, clean up, figure out how to store things without them moving all around, get a lock for my front door, get a carbon monoxide detector.

oh yeah, and that mega yard sale i'm having tomorrow.  

feeeeeelings

things are hard and weird and wonderful.  i'm focusing on the positive: i had the opportunity to thank a hero (phil elvrum) and see them play the most wonderful music, i have spent tender moments with people i love, i have remembered lost friends and lit lanterns in the dark for their memory, i have made some money, i have made some love, i sold two paintings, i've received help from friends.  

it's happening... right now.  

new bed

new bed

self care area: bed, books, aloe

self care area: bed, books, aloe

looking like home

looking like home

needs pillowzzzz

needs pillowzzzz

despite not being at the farm, it follows me in the studio - barn door closure

despite not being at the farm, it follows me in the studio - barn door closure

wired and working

wired and working

batteries

leaving the farm

yesterday morning after a stressful beginning, the honey left the farm.  

here are the last few photographs taken on yeaw road:

photo by noel'le longhaul

photo by noel'le longhaul

photo by noel'le longhaul

photo by noel'le longhaul

photo by noel'le longhaul

photo by noel'le longhaul

last week i worked on cleaning the honey, gathering final material needed, reupholstered the couch, made a mechanic appointment, and hustled for work.  

yesterday morning i woke up early bought a battery, filled a gas can, and drove up to the farm.  the honey had an empty tank, a bunk battery, and had been sitting at the farm for months.  after filling her up and switching the battery, i turned the key to nothing.  i began to panic and asked judy what she thought, to which she had little advice.  then miraculously david franklin, who runs a dairy farm down the street, stopped by to pick some fencing up from judy and kindly helped me by moving some hoses around and getting it to spark while i turned over the engine.  the honey finally woke up from a deep slumber. 

i called the mechanic to tell them i would late for my 10 am appointment and began the 20 mile drive back down to franklin county.  when i made the appointment i told them i was driving across the country and wanted them to make sure she was road ready and to get her ready for inspection.

the mechanic called later in the day.  he basically said - it's a 30 year old vehicle, you could drive across country without any troubles or something could break, but for now there is nothing pressing.  i have never had a mechanic not give me a laundry list of items to fix/repair.  i felt relieved but also nervous... what about her not wanting to start this morning?  to which the best answer i can find is she's been sitting for a while. 

i asked him to fix the lights so we could pass inspection.  the honey is still there and i am sure he'll call me any minute to pick her up.  hopefully i can get her inspected today and then she is finally road ready and will be parked at my house.  once at my house, i'll wire the solar panels, put up the ceiling, install desktop, and begin the process of nesting.  

there are only a couple of weeks left before my intended departure date.  i feel it all.  and at moments, it feels like a movie i am watching, or something i am reading about someone else doing.  i am excited about all the work i will make, my new studio, the people i will meet, the beautiful places i will see, the friends and family i will spend time with, and the unknown.  i am terrified of breaking down, unexpected expenses, getting lost in a bad way, running out of money, sketchy situations, and the unknown.  the thing is: both will happen, exciting and terrifying things... but i know ultimately i will be okay, i will be better for it, i am ready for big things, i am ready for hard things because they beget worthwhile change. 

 

weekend at the farm

i spent the weekend at the farm caring after the few remaining animals, while judy was in maryland seeing her new house for the first time.  

between cleaning out the barn, running around in the rain after brunch on a hot day, moving fence and watering sheep, playing with kittens, watching idyllic sunrises and sunsets... i managed to get a few things done with honey.  

when i painted, i was careless and paint was everywhere.  so i sat on my hands and knees for several hours scrubbing the floor.  there are still some areas on the stove, hood fan, and around some windows.  i figure those can wait for awhile...

As you see from the photo below, i removed the fridge!  thanks so much nick z!  and today marlene, judy, and i loaded it up in the truck and sent it off to the dump.  since i took this photo, i have placed the batteries right next to that vent and built a battery box around them for the solar panel power unit.  i was so happy that vent revealed itself because it is crucial to have your batteries ventilated.  and today i put the first coat of paint on it.  

no fridge

i also bought an inverter!  it should arrive tomorrow, so i could be solar powered as soon as the weekend if things go flawlessly!  i went to the solar store, where i bought the panels and hardware, to get an inverter, but they didn't sell any.  and honestly they were not much help, telling me i would probably have to spend 900 bucks on one for my needs (a pure sine wave inverter 1000w -2000w peak- 12v).  but amazon sold me one for $170.  

tomorrow, i am going to buy a new battery and then call a mechanic to get it checked over and hopefully inspected.   this is going to be the next big stressful hurdle.  i wish it would have been taken care of months ago, but now is when its happening.  *** crossing my fingers this goes smoothly.***  please think about me and send vibes to make this process as simple as possible.  i would really appreciate some easiness right now.  plus, that stash is slowing being picked at and i need this mechanic/inspection visit to not deplete my funds more than necessary.   

here is a beautiful new addition to the honey that was totally free!!  old and gifted fabric! 

here is a beautiful new addition to the honey that was totally free!!  old and gifted fabric! 

and to ease that looming stress, there is always this sweet one lounging in the sun beams.  

and to ease that looming stress, there is always this sweet one lounging in the sun beams.  

having the honey at the farm has been really crucial to the narrative i am creating.  that land and that farm changed the way i wanted my life to look like, it made me question my priorities, the way i spent my time, they way i worked jobs.  that land shook me awake to see i had been living an unintentional life.  and it made me change.  so building the honey there has been the best gift.  and i know this land hasn't just changed me, it has changed judy who has lived on it and cared for it for many years and now in just 28 days, she'll be leaving it forever.  despite this heaviness of change hovering over the farm, we are confronted with wonder:

a puddle of kittens, so small but still romping 'round.

two chickens who hid during the herding into the trailer that was bound for the slaughterhouse.  

the duck who sat on her nest all summer long, to hatch one ducking a week before all the ducks were to be sent to slaughter.  

these are the remaining beasts in the barn.  

they remind me to be resilient, to have faith in my ability to will something into being, they remind me to be joyful.

they are up

panels are up.  install took an hour and half.  nothing went wrong.  

a weight has been lifted and now i can see things more clearly.  i've been focusing on all the bad (which is undoubtably real and hard) but all the while the bad has been brewing, the good has been growing and blooming.  so i want to shift my attention to some seriously positive things.  

to begin this pma post, i want to thank all the folks who have helped me so far because while loneliness can be palpable, i have not been alone.  so...

judy, roy, justin, rachael, travis, noel'le, lior, kasha, cea, emma, wally, will, sheryl, jd, marietta, my parents - thanks, y'all have been great friends, supporters, helpers, and have contributed in specific and invaluable ways.   i hope this list of gratitude continues to grow.  i look forward to making y'all some beautiful postcards/drawings/and mail during my travels and hopefully supporting your dreams in my own specific ways.  our community is built and expanded through us aiding each others desires, needs, and visions.

process of installation of panel hardware

assembling people has been hard for me.  luckily, monday my dear friends came together and we prepped the panel frame support in the dwelling of the honey.  then on wednesday travis and i committed to install the panels on the following day.  while i had confidence the two of us could do it, i knew if we had two other helpers getting those panels on top of the honey would be a breeze.  i have been using social media to causally ask for help as an open call.  some friends from turners, who recently arrived back in the area from traveling, offered aide.  it was great to get to spend time with nice folks doing a big project.  

we didn't all convene until after noon, which caused me a lil concern for how hot everything would be.  as soon as we got to the farm, travis assembled the hardware on the roof, i drilled the pilot from the inside, and emma and wally helped gather tools and such for travis.  travis took the reins and before i knew it the rails were installed.  the sun was high in the sky and the roof was hot.  but as wally and i brought the panels out of the honey, clouds began for form around the sun and lingered until we were done which gave us some relief.  wally stood on the roof, i was on the attached ladder, travis on a leaning ladder, and emma on the ground.  emma held one end of the panel as travis walked the other end up the ladder.  once travis and i were at the same spot halfway up, emma handed me her side of the panel, and then we lifted it up to wally.  it was seamless.  then we secured them tightly and it seems that they are not going anywhere (or wait, kinda everywhere, but they are staying on top of the honey). 

holes drilled and laying it out. 

holes drilled and laying it out. 

travis and i were on the roof assembling while emma and wally hung out on the ladders.  wally made a good joke about how it felt like a city job, two people working, two people watching.  

travis and i were on the roof assembling while emma and wally hung out on the ladders.  wally made a good joke about how it felt like a city job, two people working, two people watching.  

they are so beautiful!  the panels and those punks!

they are so beautiful!  the panels and those punks!

travis, seriously you made my life so much easier by taking charge.  xo

travis, seriously you made my life so much easier by taking charge.  xo

portrait of wally and emma.  thanks babes.  

portrait of wally and emma.  thanks babes.  

i am about to scoot up to the farm where i will be staying until monday.  judy is going seeing her new house for the first time, so i am going to stay at the farm, watch over the few remaining animals, clean out the barn, and work on the honey.  i am looking forward to a little retreat, away from all distraction.  though it will be bittersweet, this will be a goodbye to a piece of land i have fallen in love with, a landscape and a way of life that has inspired a change in what i want with my time on this planet to look like.

some thoughts on funding

rachael made this video of me.  it a joke, kind of. 

but jokes aside, i have been toiling over whether i want to use a crowd funding platform like kickstarter or indiegogo and i think i have come to a conclusion.  yes, i want your aide but don't want to use a crowd funding site, at least not right now.  if you want to contribute, great!  let's talk about how that can work out best for both of us.  i want to send you endless postcards and drawings, maybe you want to give me a few bucks, or help out in some kind of way.  this has already started to happen naturally with will making me that flat file, my cousin sheryl sewing me curtains, my wonderful friends helping me with repairs and honey chores, but you can help too by making it possible for me to get to the beautiful places i want to make art in, by aiding in gas money, helping me buy art supplies, etc. 

think about it.. also, support does not alway come in the form of currency, i'm interested in your creative supportive ideas!  send me an email.  

love 

s

c l o s e r

it's been a while since i wrote on the internet.  my notebooks are full of musing, maps, and webs.  its so strange how things can be simultaneously coming together and falling apart.  i no longer have a job at the restaurant, we are all replaceable and when we are replaced capitalism will no longer pretend to care about our humanity.  school started the other day and while i am confident that 'sabbaticals', dedication to art making, and adventure are paramount to healthy, happy lives, i am sad that i will not be teaching this semester (or for a while i would imagine).  

so that which is falling apart: jobs, some friendships it seems (or loosening the weave of that fabric), the stability of 5 sherman drive house, love and partnership.

that which is coming together:

photo by noel'le longhaul  solar panels!  are close but not done.  i swear it'll happen soon.  i'm always one tool short.  

photo by noel'le longhaul 

solar panels!  are close but not done.  i swear it'll happen soon.  i'm always one tool short.  

my genius friend, lior, suggested drilling the solar rails from the inside out rather than the outside in to insure correct pilot holes.  so we created more supports and began that process but we were missing a looooooong drill bit, which i now have.

my genius friend, lior, suggested drilling the solar rails from the inside out rather than the outside in to insure correct pilot holes.  so we created more supports and began that process but we were missing a looooooong drill bit, which i now have.

my hero

my hero

noel'le and cea 

noel'le and cea 

the most exciting new addition (and spirit booster)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! this is a flat file.  a wonderful human being who comes into the pint offered to make me a flat file a few months ago.  i sort of forgot about it and then i get this email saying it's done.  and it's beautiful.  it is full of all possibilities.  it holds my future.  it holds my hope.  it is the single nicest thing anyone has ever done for me.  and we are strangers.  one of the things i am curious about with this project is how quickly i will go from stranger to friend... this is not the last one i am sure but the first of many accounts of the goodness of people.   i am giving him a painting. 

the most exciting new addition (and spirit booster)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

this is a flat file.  a wonderful human being who comes into the pint offered to make me a flat file a few months ago.  i sort of forgot about it and then i get this email saying it's done.  and it's beautiful.  it is full of all possibilities.  it holds my future.  it holds my hope.  it is the single nicest thing anyone has ever done for me.  and we are strangers.  one of the things i am curious about with this project is how quickly i will go from stranger to friend... this is not the last one i am sure but the first of many accounts of the goodness of people.  

i am giving him a painting. 

i made some cushions!   and i am broke so i am left to choose fabrics laying around my house, which worked out better because now i will be lounging in the curtain from my first studio and fabric justin brought me back from asia.  

i made some cushions!   and i am broke so i am left to choose fabrics laying around my house, which worked out better because now i will be lounging in the curtain from my first studio and fabric justin brought me back from asia.  

we've been charting our course.

we've been charting our course.

the departure date is creeping up.  i am nervous i won't be done but i have to have faith that it will come together.  faith in my own abilities.  for some reason, no - for many specific reasons, i have not been able to sleep at night.  the last two nights i have wondered onto the porch in the early hours to stare into the woods and listen to crickets.  i have been wishing i would have dealt with all the mechanical and inspection issues months ago before i started the demo and rebuild of the inside.  the solar panels are the bane of my existence.  i've been thinking a lot about how dumb cismen and capitalism have really screwed me over.   i've been feeling alone in the whole process.  i have been listening to a lot of cheesy music.  i dread over money.  

when people ask me any question about this project, i usually can't answer.  i don't know past today right now.  but maybe soon tomorrow will come into light and we can start talking about that.  

 

deconstruction is over, it's time to build.

i'm still waiting on my friend travis to help me get those panels up, but i have been filling the waiting time with interior chores.  painting is done for the most part, minus some little areas (like that hole next to the newly build desk frame - sometimes you just want to see what's behind a wall and you have to tear through it).  it's getting so close to being together and i am starting to get so so so excited (and terrified).  the honey is looking sharp, but my bank account is dwindling, i am hoping to pick up some more shifts at the bar, beg folks to have me do chores around their houses, babysit, sell some paintings, something.  i have been kicking around the idea of doing a kickstarter (with awesome postcard subscriptions) but it feels strange asking for money, especially in this terrible cultural climate.  

almost a desk

judy hurt her knee a few weeks ago and there are numerous chores to be done around the farm that she is not capable of doing at the moment.  a pressing task has been cleaning out the barn, where sheep and chickens and ducks have been living for a long time.  there are areas over a foot tall of compacted shit and hay... totally compacted.  this task is impossible for her right now, and it has to be done by october, so i took it on.  after 5 hours i had completed a quarter of the east side of the barn, my hands blistered, my back sore, my clothes shit covered.  though it was not as miserable of a task as it sounds, something about clearing the shit, digging down to the foundation of barn, visible progress... felt cleansing, not just for our beloved barn but maybe cleansed my spirit some.   

one of three truck loads

one of three truck loads

it's time to put it all together. 

a step closer

solar panels:

i organized some folks, we met, we accomplished some.  as some of you may remember, i bought  solar panels a few weeks ago and between bad timing and bad weather, they have been leaning against a wall waiting for me.  when i bought them from the solar store, the man gave me a thorough rundown of how to install them and then handed me a box of hardware and helped me put the panels in the truck and sent me on my way.  the memory of those verbal directions were all we had to go from, as you can imagine it was much like putting together a massive puzzle. luckily, my crew consisted of rachael, who was with me when i bought the panels and has her own faint memory of those instructions, and then travis, who has done so much building work over the years.  both folks are also super intuitive, smart, and great problem solvers.  

"look confused" 

"look confused" 

uh... this piece goes like this???

uh... this piece goes like this???

travis on top of the honey / the world 

travis on top of the honey / the world 

after some time of piecing it together, we are quite sure we have figured it out.  but because this is such a structural project, we decide the best thing to do is to take the hardware to the solar store to get a second tutorial from the solar guru and then eat some burritos.  john, at the solar store, reassures us that we were putting it together properly, we fill our bellies, and return to the farm.  

the first thing we do is map out where the rails for the panels need to be installed.  travis is on the roof with a blue sharpie finds the middle of the roof and draws a line, finds where those sweet spots for support are and makes more marks.  we reinforce the internal frame with 2x4s where the rails will be.  

once things are mapped out and support is added we are ready to start drilling.  it's strange to think i just patched all the holes in the roof, just to add more.  well... this is where things get a lil hairy, we figured that since the roof is aluminum and the frame is wood, we could easily find the beams by simply knocking on  the roof.  the thing we didn't account for is that there are furring strips between the beams.  and so with two mis-drills, we decide that we cannot move forward until we get a stud finder.  once again, the project waits.  the success, though, is in the unveiling the mystery of the solar installation.   

outside the honey:

the past few weeks have been wrought with big feeeeeelings.  

the world is hard.  the world is sad.  the world is fucked.  i talk so much about my micro-world that i experience daily and that i have created, probably because it is easy to talk about.  but i can't stop thinking about large scale problems in our world that makes my little problems seem like mosquito bites.  are you paying attention to the climate we are in?  a place where our 'public defenders' murder our kids?  a world where territory is more important than people and children are just another causality?  

and all my lil woes eat at me still, and then i feel guilty for being so narrow sighted.  and then all the world's woes eat at me and i am consumed.  i don't know the solution.  i listen to a lot of daniel johnston, i pick flowers, i love my dog, i cry for my friends, i cry for the world, i occupy my time trying so hard to not go into that dark place even though i hear it calling and i am one foot in.  

besides the honey, here are some of my short-term woe remedies:

after swimming with friends and puppies and babies, i gather some flowers.  i don't keep them for myself but give them away.  

after swimming with friends and puppies and babies, i gather some flowers.  i don't keep them for myself but give them away.  

8/12/14 stick and poke lets stop being afraid of discussing mental health and depression.  letz get real: i have not been 'keeping it together' very well lately which mostly means withdrawing and lots of lone cry sessions... and maybe that is keeping it together, maybe i'm feeling it all and then can release it (for a while, because as we know it's cyclical and always returns).  either way, i am trying to forgive myself.  everyday.  

8/12/14 stick and poke

lets stop being afraid of discussing mental health and depression.  letz get real: i have not been 'keeping it together' very well lately which mostly means withdrawing and lots of lone cry sessions... and maybe that is keeping it together, maybe i'm feeling it all and then can release it (for a while, because as we know it's cyclical and always returns).  either way, i am trying to forgive myself.  everyday.  

tanning hides takes a daily routine.  that helps.  i am also committed to preserving and honoring these beautiful beasts that i have helped raise.  

tanning hides takes a daily routine.  that helps.  i am also committed to preserving and honoring these beautiful beasts that i have helped raise.  

baby kitties always helps... duh. 

baby kitties always helps... duh.