My life has undergone a vast myriad of changes over the last ten years but it is finding a way to come full-circle in a way I would never have dreamed of. Over the last ten years, I’ve gotten away from writing as much of the erotic, admittedly this is much to the dismay of my fans. Let me take some time to explain that and then bring you up to speed.
Why Did I Stop Writing Erotica?
The answer is really very simple. After menopause, I’m just not as interested. *shrug* I went through the night sweats and the lack of sleep. I was on sleeping pills and was simply exhausted all of the time.
Women in my own life had let me down a lot and whether it’s because of that, or just because I’m very happy on my own, I’m not interested in relationships anymore. Sexual intimacy is not important to me and my life is full of happiness found in living life. Who knows if things will change, but I don’t really anticipate it.
I found that my life was always full of drama when I had women chasing me or I was chasing women and ultimately, I decided that it wasn’t worth it at all. I’ve never been happier.
The Future Calls
I’ve been chasing a dream of off-grid living, learning to live self-sustainably, and building my writing career in more serious places. I’ve been doing a great deal of content for websites, blogs, and ebooks that have been ghost written for others.
I’m earning more money from writing than I have ever earned before and I’m living sparingly, but independently. My bills are paid — sometimes late due to the way freelance workers often are paid — but they are paid. I’m grateful for that.
As my career has done better, I invested in ten acres of property in Maine. As this current administration has gotten more and more out of hand, I’ve wanted to be where I could have one foot out of the country as quickly as I wanted. My land is 2.47 miles from the border crossing station into Canada.
The property has a pond, a well, septic, and an old foundation from a barn and house that are no longer there. The possibilities are truly endless and I’m simply biding my time until early next summer, when I intend to take off for there.
The best part of all is that my best friend from my twenties is back in my life. He recently beat cancer and he’s determined to live some adventures, so he’s coming with me. We have two campers – each approximately 40 feet long, a propane powered generator that can produce enough power for both of us. I have solar panels and intend to add more so that the generator will only be for emergencies.
We aren’t sure how we’ll need to get the well functional, but hoping it won’t be an enormous problem that takes more than $1500-$2000 to get functional. We intend to enclose the campers and add-on rooms to them, with wood stoves for the primary source of heat, because of the condensation that propane heat can cause. The propane will be back-up heat and hot water heat, cooking, and run our refrigerators, which will allow the solar to run everything else in the campers.
Maine has very mild summers – thank God. I lived through 112-degree days this past summer without air conditioning until I finally broke down and bought a gasoline generator to run an air unit.
My plan is to build rocket thermal mass stoves and run the stove pipe around the add-in rooms, and then all the way under the campers to keep the floors warm in winter. They are arctic package campers so this is just insurance.
We plan on skirting the campers with hay, then wrapping that in chicken wire, and stucco over that. It will seal the bales to keep rodents out and prevent mold and mildew. They’ll need to be on a rock trench with vapor barrier between that and them.
In the summer, we plan to grow our own food and can it. We plan on stocking the pond with fish that can be harvested for our own use and possibly selling to any local folks who want some. It will also make for a fun place to toss a line in the water.
I plan on having goats, chickens, and rabbits. They will all provide food, milk, butter, soap, and/or money. Jake wants to raise a cow to have butchered and I’m fine with that but suggested that we do at least two, so that the second one can be sold to pay for raising the first one.
My goal is to purchase a van over the next few months to make it easier to move with three dogs and three cats. Jake will handle getting the campers onsite. He’s already closer to the property so it makes sense for him to do that.
I intend to work as I travel. I’ll be writing some travel pieces on locations I visit. Incidentally, I just had an article accepted for publication to a travel magazine and positively I’m stoked over it!
I don’t focus on LGBTQ issues because it just isn’t all of who I am. I wanted to focus on more serious work, opposed to erotica which certainly wasn’t going to be held next to Thoreau’s work, or find its way into any libraries across America. I’d like to write something that will be in a library, read many years beyond my death. That’s a goal that I am working toward.
Once I’m moved and settled in Maine, I intend to enjoy life and do some writing for the joy of writing and not for the sake of meeting deadlines and a paycheck. I am 52 and when I was 16 I told my mother that I intended to retire by 50. Never being very supportive as a general rule, she retorted, “Everyone says that, honey.” Well, I didn’t make it at 50, but I think I’m going to make it by 55. That’s the goal.
I blog at a site called Vocal more frequently than I do here. At Vocal, you may leave a tip if you like a story and I get paid per view. I have had over a quarter of a million reads here and yet I’ve accrued just $97 which they will not pay out to me until I hit $100. It’s been aggravating to me that they earn as much as they do from ads and I gain next to nothing, so I took my blogging to places that were more fair to the writer. Join me there.
My other blog is simply done under my legal name and I have also become far more comfortable being that person. I’m quite happily controlling my blood sugar, marching as a resistor, and living in my little cabin with my dogs and cats. The coffee is hot, the food is good, and life is great.
Unlike most people, I’m not interested in making resolutions at the beginning of a new year. I believe that we should always strive to be better and practice self-reflection. Humans have adapted to this behavior of acting out and then asking for forgiveness. People have truly forgotten how to live in the moment. No resolutions for me, only living in the moments as they present themselves.
Part of learning to live in the moment is believing that you are where you are always supposed to be. Sometimes that is a hard thing to do, especially when nothing is going right, and the world seems to be conspiring against you. Try thinking about it differently. Think that the world is conspiring to move you.
In fact, when life keeps trying to move you and you don’t listen, the lessons you are being taught get harsher until you do listen. If you never learn anything else, learn this.
When it is time for you to move toward something else, the universe conspires to do everything it can to push you along on your journey. We get stuck sometimes. Some of us spend most of our lives stuck. Don’t be stuck in anything. Be willing to change. Change is an important part of life because along with change comes learning.
Some people refer to this as the ability to adapt. Science calls it survival of the fittest’ and it doesn’t always mean physical fitness. Mental fitness is likely to be more important. My father always said, “If you work smart, you never have to work hard.” I wish I knew where he had originally heard the expression because it has stuck with me for my entire life. I’d like to thank the person that he learned it from because it has served me very well.
I’m making a few changes in this upcoming year. As you know, I’m a wanderer.
I’ve been waiting to announce plans that will blow you away. I’m moving to Alaska! Yes, Alaska. You read that correctly.
I have a friend that I’ve known since just before a couple of years before my father died. Jake is a great guy and we used to hang out all the time, doing what 26-year-olds do; not much really, but having fun doing it. We had a lot of fun. He was there for me when my foot was crushed working at K-mart distribution in Ocala, FL. K-mart denied the entire incident, by the way, because my supervisor, Ed, failed to type a written report when I went to tell him about it the accident. I finished my shift, but I developed a horrible limp which turned out to be the tendon being torn from the bottom of my foot.
I walked with a crutch for quite a long time and it was years before my foot felt normal. Jake was the one who showed-up at my door with a couple of bags of groceries for me, knowing that I was struggling without me every even telling him I had little to nothing in the house. He was just always that guy. He’s also gay, but the sort of gay man that most of society never guesses at a glance because he’s big and rugged looking. He looks like Garth Brooks’ younger brother.
He and I lost track of each other through the early 2000s, but I eventually tracked him down again and we have kept in touch through phone calls and text messages. A year ago, he had cancer and went through treatment. He had part of his liver removed and he also lost part of a lung. He’s come through it okay so far but cancer changes people. Life changes people too.
He contacted me and poured his heart out. He’s sick of the rat race, the political crap, the hate crimes, the hatred and anger in the world. He has a void inside him that he wants to fill with something. He’s soul searching like we all do. I feel it too. Each word that poured out of him, I could relate to. Not wanting to date anyone anymore or really want to be with anyone at all, not really caring about partying, pleasing people or compromising what I want for what others want and see as normal.
His words sank in and I felt them more than I heard them. I felt my soul stirring. I wanted away from it all too. There’s a certain peacefulness that washes over you when you decide that you aren’t going to buy into the rat race.
It’s the same as realizing that when you stop interacting with a narcissist and feeding their desire to get in your head for attention that you are happy without them. When they move your stuff, throw your things in the trash, get loud, and demand your attention, ignoring them and going ghost is what makes them the most crazy and gives you the most peace.
I digress. We had a few conversations like this and suddenly one day he asked me if I’d go to Alaska with him. He wants to live more in tune with nature and less with civilization. He wants to hunt and fish and just ‘be’ and I can so relate to that. He also wants to be alone most of the time but understands the sense of security in having people around that you can trust. I said yes.
I had always harbored a desire to see Alaska and we all know here that I don’t just go visit anywhere, I move there. I live there and get to know the place, the people, the places and experiences that are there for me to have. That’s been my life heretofore, but I sense that this move is different. Jake is planning on three of us going but all having our own tiny little cabins and our own 5 acres. That will allow us to have safety and security, while still being on our own.
He is selling his house for the money, and since it was basically a flip house when he bought it, he should be able to sell it quickly and make a handsome profit. That money is buying our 15+ acres and tiny houses. He wants to buy my retirement home, and he’ll deed it to me so that if anything happens to him, it will always be mine.
We’ve discussed whether to be off-grid or not. We don’t really want to be totally off the grid. We’d like to at least have electricity and cell phone service. Outhouses or composting toilets are probably going to be necessary and running water is still being discussed. A well seems necessary, so we’ll see how that shakes out. I’m not opposed to roughing it a little because that just means getting back to basics.
A long time ago, when I took the name Jesse MacGregor-Jones, it was to honor my Celtic roots. My last name came from MacGregor. Jones was my mother’s maiden name, which is Welsh. Jesse is a different spelling of my paternal grandmother, Jessie VanFossen Greer. The name was meant to honor my people because one of the basic tenets of Celtic life and druidism is to always ‘honor those from whom you came’ and I try to do that all the time.
I was born from a long, long line of barbarians, historically speaking. Druidism was the way of life in ancient times and the more I learn about it, the more I relate to it Druids are the people you see depicted on shows like Britannia. Druids were in tune with nature, the moon and the seasons. Druids understood the stars, they were the healers who learned to harness the power of the plant world. Druids kept animals and claimed to hear them speak. Druids were the scholars, the poets, the lawyers of their time. People sought the wisdom of the druids because they were the keepers of knowledge. They were never concerned with wealth or pretenses, only with harmony and they things that would bring them the most peaceful existence.
I identify with much of druid belief and way of life. I also honor animals of all types. I believe that the earth should be honored and taken care of. I feel joy in the changes of season and the boundaries between worlds feel like they are simply portals that we pass through. Magic seems like a good thing to believe in at a time when hope is all we have sometimes. I choose to believe that magic can happen. Druidism isn’t a religion, it’s a way of living your life. I like that, because I’m not religious – at all.
It’s obvious that I’ve undergone a lot of changes since the time I first started this blog. I’m more in tune and self-aware. I feel less of a need to seek happiness and I’m happier with myself. I’m content in many ways. I don’t feel any intense pressure or pain; my emotions are pretty level and my health is good.
I think a lot of my past issues with anger and emotional highs and lows was because my blood sugar was drastically out of control. For over a year now, I’ve been on Trulicity. My sugar was normal at my last A1C check. I’ve not had a normal A1C since 2003 or so. The difference in the way I feel is totally amazing. I’m far less irritable and I’ve also worked hard on meditation and learning to be in tune and aware of my feelings. I’m not perfect. No one is perfect, but I have learned to walk away and not engage in an argument. If something doesn’t serve me in some way, or if it causes me anything other than peace and happiness, I leave it alone.
Just as I have undergone changes, my writing has changed. I know that it may come as a sad realization to some of my fans, but I have no desire to write any of the erotica that I used to write. I’m too detached from that part of self now. I simply have no interest in it. Be it a hormonal change (I’m fifty and beyond menopause) or be it an emotional change due to how I view my place in this world, I’m different and I want to write things that are more substantial. I want to write impactful things.
With that, I’ve been authoring articles again and earning more than I ever have before. I’m doing surprisingly well, in fact. I’m also working on a new book. A fictional novel that is more of a fantasy book with a flavor of sorcery and witchcraft. I’ve never undertaken something like this before but I’m enjoying my research so far and the bit that I’ve written.
I am very hopeful to finish this book while staring out a cabin window, somewhere on the Kenai Peninsula. Cold weather really doesn’t bother me and I’m completely willing to take allergy pills, so I can handle a wood burning fire all winter. I’ll enjoy not being on the internet as much and enjoying the outdoors in-between writing articles. I’m looking forward to breathing fresher air, maybe doing some whale watching, and fishing. I’m anxious to see my totem animal. My totem is the salmon.
Yes, I was initially dumbfounded when the salmon found its way into my meditation over a year ago. I asked why I had been given a ‘fish’ instead of something cool like a wolf. I’m convinced that people who constantly refer to wolves as their totem animals are just picking that randomly because the wolf seems like a cool animal. I wanted my totem to speak to me. It did, and I never questioned it, no matter how unimpressed I was with it.
Several months later, I had a dog training client who was Irish. She told me about the ancient Celtic tale of Finn McCool and the Salmon of Knowledge. I read the story, after I easily searched it up on Google. I was totally stunned. First, Finn is mentioned in his Gaelic name, Fionn mac Cumhaill, in the readings I had done in tracing my family tree. He’s spoken of as if he were a member of the family. The lines of truth and myth were often blurred in Celtic lore.
I realized that I have a personal connect with the Salmon of Knowledge and it moved me and tickled my soul. I’ve been awakening. These stories, coincidences and happenings are awakening me. I’m following my destiny, whatever it may be. For now, my novel is taking shape and perhaps it will be a sensation? I don’t know. Perhaps it will change a life or two, which is equally successful in my mind. Maybe I will simply have fun while writing it?
While in Alaska, I also hope to do some photography. Early in life, from age 15 to 20, I took a two-year course to be certified as a graphic artist, with my focus primarily in photography. I was apprenticed to a photographer in my junior year of high school. I have some publications that I can submit nature and outdoor articles to, with photos. I am hopeful of getting published in a few of these.
That’s it, guys! I’m moving to Alaska. I’m going to live in a tiny cabin with my two dogs (and probably will get a larger husky or malamute to keeps us safer). I will have a home that is paid for, without a mortgage. I will be able to put my roots down in a way that serves me, in a place of MY choosing. I’m not running from anyone or to anyone. I’m deciding for self and it feels fucking fantastic!
So here is to a new year, a season of change and a life ahead of me to be lived. I wish you all the success and happiness that you desire this new year. I hope that you will find what profoundly moves you to be the person you are meant to be. I hope that you find love, not ust romantic love but a love of life and of self. Love is the answer.
The druids lived by three basic tenets: Wisdom, Creativity, and Love.
Just Another Way for Nationalists at to Further Divide?
The word ‘happy’ comes from the word “hap,” which means “luck, or chance, and may imply good fortune. Some of you may have heard the term happenstance? Happenstance synonyms are words and phrases such as, “chance, serendipity, fate, fortuity, fortune, a piece of good fortune, a bit of luck.”
Happy doesn’t seem so bad, does it?
Happy Christmas is the terminology most frequently used in Europe and was the original way Americans welcomed the holiday.
“Merry” comes from frequent usage during the 18th and 19th centuries, respectively. The term was often used as a term for having fun and was a way of displaying the emotion of happiness. Therefore, the two words became very interchangeable in most cultures who ever used the word “merry” for anything. Over time, happy took on the more emotional connotation, while merry became the word for expressing that happy feeling. “Merriment” was the word that referred to the making of merry, which in today’s slang might be referred to as a “party” or as “partying” with younger people.
Standing on Traditions
For those who enjoy fussing about traditions and the terms that are most proper, they should learn a bit about the history of linguistics and look outside of themselves more. The words that you yourself grew up using, are not necessarily ‘proper’ or even ‘traditional’ terms, even in your own country. Just as you may have learned Merry Christmas from the traditional Anglo-Saxon upbringing that came from migrating to the United States several generations ago someone else learned traditional words from their own grandparents who were Dutch. Words also begin to change over time.
The United States of America has become a melting pot of different traditions over the nearly 250 years since its colonization. I will not use the term ‘discovery’ because that is also simply a point of view. Natives who already called this place home never discovered it. If I take a wrong turn on the way to Cleveland, OH and end-up in Louisville, KY, I didn’t discover Louisville. The people who already live there may take some issue with that!
I digress. The song Happy Christmas was released in 1971 as a protest song about the Vietnam War. It was a hit, recorded by John Lennon, with Yoko Ono, and the Harlem Community Choir, based in the United States. John was a famous singer/songwriter who originated from England and grew to fame in the band The Beatles. John was shot and killed in New York City, which had made his home. Mark David Chapman shot JohnLennon in the back, four times, killing him. He was pronounced dead on December 8, 1980. The reason given for shooting John, Chapman had become a born again Christian and found Lennon‘s off-the-cuff statement, “The Beatles are more popular than Jesus” to be offensive. Perhaps if more people did feel that way, the world would be so different today? John preached love.
The song opens with the words, “Happy Christmas” being said to each of the couple’s children from previous marriages. In 1980, immediately following John’s death, the song again rose up the charts and peaked at the #3 spot on Billboard. It has become a Christmas tradition to younger generations. Many living today have grown up with this song , having been a song that was released in the birth of the 1970s and still popular today. This could be behind “Happy” coming back to Christmas?
Why Does It Matter So Much to People HOW You Wish Them Christmas?
The people most often irritated by this issue are those who are most unwavering in their own beliefs, however little facts they use to substantiate their claims. It’s about how it makes them feel. In other words, your feelings don’t matter, only the way in which they perceive Christmas to be is acceptable. These same people are quick to claim disrespect when they respect very little, at the expense of others.
These are the same people who refer to our country as America, never realizing that America is made up of two regions that form a CONTINENT, comprised of North America and South America. We are The United States (of America –you, know … because we are on the North American continent, as are Mexico and Canada).
When these people say things like, “This is how we do things in America!” They are being so haute and boisterous as to claim that every single country located on the continent made up of North and South America also do things that way. Mexicans and Canadians are also Americans in the most technical of terms, the same way in which Germans are Europeans. (It really isn’t rocket science!)
These people really should wake up and realize that the world does not revolve around this country. By now, you would think that we humans would have lost our centrist views. We now know that we are not alone in the world, nor are we probably alone in the universe.
We, as a country, have behaved like toddlers long enough. Now that we have a president who behaves the same way, some of us are realizing how awful we look, and we’d like our country to grow up now, so that we can sit at the grown-up table with the rest of the world. This presidency has been an awful look in the mirror at the worst side of ourselves.
Some of you are spewing , “I will not acknowledge someone who says ‘Happy Christmas’ to me and I will only say ‘Merry Christmas back to them because that is how it is done in America!” I hope that you can one day come to realize how ridiculous, childish, self-centered, poorly educated and hateful you portray yourselves to be. Grow up. Join the rest of in this thing called humanity.
If Someone Wishes You Anything Other Than Merry Christmas What Should You Do?
I’m not the most approachable person in the world sometimes, due to my ADD, my spectrum issues that make me pull back from people, with my auditory processing disorder, and my general need for space, so for what it is worth:
When someone looks at me and says, “Happy Christmas!” I look them right back in the eye and I say ….
When someone walks past me and says, “Happy Holidays” I smile and say…
“Thanks! YOU TOO!!”
When someone at the grocery store tells me that they are Jewish and do
not celebrate Christmas,
I smile at them and I say…
“Have a wonderful and Happy Hanukah!”
I’m a human being, just like them. We are all from the human race. We all bleed, we all have hopes, dreams, fears, and we all cry from pain and grief. If someone takes the time out of their day to wish me something meant in merriment, expressed in good cheer, I am going to receive that gift from my fellow human being with gratitude and love, because the world needs more of that. The United States especiallyneeds more of that right now.
It has been a wild ride, these last 50+ years. This winter, the shoulder pain has been tougher than ever. CBD oil helps immensely though!. If you’ve not tried it, I highly recommend it. The oil helps my ADD and pain. I also recommend turmeric with curcumin. That stuff is an amazing natural anti-inflammatory and scientists agree that it has benefits and warrants more research. It works wonders for arthritis and joint pains from injury. Aches and pains are just there to remind us of the fun we’ve had I suppose, but growing old really does get old some days!
It’s good to be back here in a space I have always held so near to my heart. Butch Ramblings was my healing journey and my happiness. Ramblings was my home for a long time. I blogged my way through isolation, heartache, stupidity, growing pains and more. Someone once said to me that it was’ time I settled down and put down roots somewhere.’ That life isn’t meant for everyone. It isn’t meant for me. I’m an adventurer.
Don’t let people tell you what to do. You do what is best for yourself and you’ll always be fine. Trust me on that. These are my roots right here. This is my legacy. This website will be around long after I am gone. Hopefully that won’t be for a little while yet. On the other hand, if it happens tomorrow, I’m prepared. I’ve lived a good life and I’ve come to terms with most of the lessons I have learned along this path. I’ve had ups and I have had downs.
I’ve had many sleepless nights. I’ve had other nights where I have slept like a log. I have awakened with clarity over things I had been worried about. I’ve ruminated over a decision for far too long. I have still made the wrong choice. In fact, I’ve made a lot of bad choices. I’ve also made some pretty damned great choices. The universe is awesome that way because there is balance in everything we do. The wisdom that we receive, once we are open to it, is pretty amazing.
I have heard people whine about losing their trust of others. I’ve seen people place blame on everyone else in their life for all the messed up shit they have been neck deep in for years. At some point you have to take responsibility for yourself and realize that you’ve been an asshole to everyone around you and that’s why nobody sticks around. At some point you choose to trust or not to. You either get tired of living a life that is an empty shell or you get down in it and get dirty. Bathe in the mud!
I’m a mud bather. I admit it. If shit gets deep, I’ll swim out into it a little further just to see how deep it will get. I figure once I have some mud on my boots I may as well get really dirty. I take chances on people. I walk away from people fast too. Things that will get me to walk away fast are people who become passive aggressive. People who don’t know when to shut up or respect my space drive me cuckoo too. People who, in every single conversation, relive the past and place blame on other people constantly. That gets old really, really fast. At some point, stop being a victim in your own novel. Choose to be the hero.
That’s all of my deep thoughts for now. I’ll move on to reality. I am living with a friend who is letting me use her place as a staging area before I make a big move that I’m not quite ready to talk about yet. While here, I’m trying to help her as much as possible. She’s getting older and her house has been falling into disarray for the last few years. She broke her back and has had difficulty with mundane tasks. My goal is to do some work, help her put into place some things/processes that will make it easier for her to function, and make sure that she has what she needs to survive. Right now we are in the middle of showering her with Christmas gifts, thanks to so many Facebook friends! I’m so blessed to have really good, caring individuals that I’ve met there and I choose to keep them around in my life! Such GOOD we get accomplished as a tribe! Love and kindness really do go a long way in keeping people in your life.
I have plans to do some wildlife photography soon, while I still can. I’m writing again, while I still can. Last year I was diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy. In other words, the capillaries in the backs of my eyes have been bleeding. It clouds the vision over time. It has slowed drastically with my blood sugar more under control but the odds of me going blind in time are very high. My eyesight is not what it used to be and I have issues already. I miss little typos here and there. The doctors at the Kittner Eye Institue in Chapel Hill, NC, also noticed that I have a cataract on my left eye. It isn’t really operable and it is from scar tissue, likely from blunt force trauma. Apparently, according to them, I’ve had it my whole life since infancy. It is very old and that explains a lot about my sensitivity to light. Lasting effects from childhood abuse I presume but don’t really know for sure. At any rate, my vision is an issue but I don’t intend to let it stop me. When the time comes, I’ll see about voice recognition software and dictate.
I’ve been playing guitar again over this last year. I promised myself that I’d do something for myself, personally enriching, for my 50th year on the planet. I’m having the time of my life with it. I used to noodle around with some chords a long time ago. I’ve picked guitars up and put them down a dozen times over the years. I never really got enthusiastically involved in practice and learning because I never really knew exactly where to start. Fender Play got me down the right path. Technology is so advanced these days that there are lessons online everywhere and I’m really absorbing them. I love it! Best thing I’ve ever done was to pick it up again.
I have plans to begin submitting articles, with wildlife and outdoor themes, to some magazines in the outdoor genre. I have lost a lot of weight in the last year and gained a little winter weight back but I’m on an indoor bike trainer that I was able to plop my Fuji mountain bike on so I am hoping to get that weight right back off plus some more. My mental state is free and easy these days. I’m not running from anything or to anything. I just AM. It’s a great place to be! I’m living life for me. I spread a little joy here and there and just work on being the best me that I can be. If everyone else did that, the world would be such a better place! Don’t you all agree?
Far too old to be living like this, but don’t tell him that. He’s happy. He sleeps in his truck in parking lots all over North Florida.
Many of you have followed my excursions for a good year now. You know that I try to keep things as real as possible. I’ve shown you all some of the good things about life and some of the things that truly stink sometimes too. In the end, I’ve always tried to keep my messages positive. I do believe that life is what you make of it.
That said, when I went through my horrible year last year, I was reminded of how much we all depend on each other and how hard like can be. I felt that God himself had spoken to me and I came to an immediate realization – an epiphany – that I’d wasted a great deal of time that I hadn’t put to good use. I made a promise to myself and to the Universe that I was going to work harder to help others. My purpose is now to do what I can to help others and speak for those who have no voice of their own.
I’d like to tell you about my latest project. This is in alignment with my goals and my passions. I’ve decided to put my author skills to work on a project of almost epic proportions. I’m going to re-enter my life as a homeless person, in order to tell the story from their point of view. How can you tell someone about being hungry if you have never truly been hungry? How can you describe the fear of having no roof over your head if you have never known this fear yourself?
Not only am I going to do a book, but also a documentary while I am living in the life. When I am finished, there will be a book, a documentary and a photo book complete. ALL PROCEEDS FROM THE DOCUMENTARY AND BOOK WILL GO TO THE HOMELESS. The money will go to organizations that help to feed, clothe and provide medication to those who are homeless. I will be very selective over who gets funds; making sure that 100% of the money goes to the people that it is meant for. If not, then I shall set-up a separate charity entirely for this purpose.
I’m currently working on some products for sale to help raise money for the documentary. I’ll be opening a Cafe Press store to the public in a few days. I’m working on product designs at the moment. I have an IndieGoGo campaign set-up to take donations at the above link. I implore you to consider helping this project come to fruition. Not only will it bring to light some of the issues happening with the homeless community, but it will also help to set in place some programs that can offer more assistance to these people. Too many are falling through the cracks because they can’t qualify for help. Some can’t even seek traditional help because of mental issues that prevent them from even trying, much less even being aware that there is help available for them.
Today, I simply ask you to take a look at the campaign page and to do one of two things: 1)Donate if you can or 2) pass it along to others who may be able to help.
Thanks for your time and, as always, thanks for reading!
This is the type of thing I love to write – part of this is based in fact, but told like fiction. Emotions dictate, music added to set the mood for you to match what I was feeling as I wrote … and in the end – a message. I hope that you enjoy! Take the time to listen to the music and let the messages sink in. ~ Jesse
I Keep Holding On
I was awakened by the smell of ocean air and the sound of waves softly rolling up onto the beach. The breeze blowing through the screen of my camper was cool as I snuggled down further into my comforter and pillows, not quite ready to give up on my cozy slumber. My mind began to drift as it always does in the early morning hours; half in and half out of sleep. I thought about the day ahead and what I would do with the hours. So much time on my hands left me with constantly seeking something to keep myself busy. Boredom truly can become exhausting.
I began thinking about my last conversation with Raleigh. She truly left me puzzled sometimes. Raleigh was that sort of woman who would tell you to not try to fix her problems; she just wanted me to listen. She would clearly tell me that she had boundaries. This wasn’t what puzzled me – I was glad to have a forthright person in my life who wasn’t afraid to talk about anything. What left me confused was the way that she would jump in, whenever Iwas trying to vent about something, and start offering suggestions and tell me what I should do. I sighed out loud and thought to myself that it was probably my own fault for not setting my own boundaries. I decided that day that the next time we talked, I’d address this issue and the way I felt about it.
As I swung my feet out of bed, I made my mind up that the next time we talked, I was going to have to tell her how this was making me feel. I didn’t like feeling like I wasn’t allowed to share my feelings about something without being chided for being negative. I knew I was not typically a negative person, but felt that everyone deserved to feel down sometimes and should be able to share that with someone they they trust. Getting told what to do and told not to react the way I did, just made me feel like I had to close part of myself off…and I hated that feeling. It didn’t feel safe. I spent a lot of time being “up” for other people…fans, friends and sometimes suicidal people that I volunteered to help listen to and encourage to get proper help. I felt like I had to maintain for them all…but in private, I needed to feel safe to be able to just “be” however I felt. I shook my head because it made me feel sad. I had to get the thoughts out of my head and I decided that a walk on the beach was in order.
I stumbled past the galley and into the tiny bathroom to relieve my bladder before making my way back to the coffee maker and starting the morning brew. As it slowly dripped and steamed, the coffee began to emerge in the pot. I put creamer in my big plastic coffee mug and then went to go put on some board shorts and a sleeveless t-shirt. As I was slipping on my flip-flops, the coffee maker groaned and gasped for air as it gave birth to the last few drops of caffeine that would start my day out perfectly. I poured my cup of coffee into the large mug and walked out into the world.
The campground was beginning to stir with evidence of life. I could smell someone’s breakfast cooking on an outdoor grill. I saw another family stowing gear and rolling their hose and electrical cord. They were just passing through; probably on their way to some attraction or theme park.
My flip-flops tossed the sand into the breeze and I could feel it on my shins as I made my way to the beach, only a short walk away. The closer I came to the water’s edge, the finer the sand became and eventually my toes were baptized by the cold water creeping onto the shore. It only took a moment for my feet to grow accustomed to the cool water and it began to feel so good that I slipped my flops off and tied them to the string hanging from my waistband so that I could walk with free hands. Why is that as soon as your toes hit cold water, you feel like you need to pee?
My toes sunk into the cool, wet sand as I enjoyed the walk. Every so often I would feel a hard shell and stop to take a closer look at it. While I rarely picked them up, I was always on the look-out for the perfect shell. Sometimes I would come across a clam but never had the heart to remove them from their environment and eat them. Typically, I tossed them out into deeper water to ‘rescue’ them from other clam hunters. I hadn’t killed a spider in years. I’m not sure I honestly have a mean bone in my body, though I was able to show my Scottish temper from time to time. I knew I could get testy about some things … especially when it felt like I was being judged or told that I was living my life “wrong.”
To be perfectly honest, I’d never gotten over the dominant rule of a mother who was abusive, ill-tempered, quick with a fist and even more vicious with her tongue. It took me so many years to believe that I was capable of anything at all, that anyone even questioning me immediately put me on the defense. I was aware that it was an issue … but not really sure how to fix it. I didn’t like being that way. Raleigh said that it often took an equal number of years to get over the amount of time you were in a bad situation. My mother was a dark spot in my world for almost thirty years. I sighed deeply and become aware that my forehead was creased and my eyebrows were furrowed. I brought myself to the present moment and consciously relaxed. Still, I knew that ‘just letting go’ wasn’t so easily done in this case. I walked on.
Closer To Fine
By the time I had returned to the camper, the sun was getting high in the sky. I had no idea what time it was because I’d almost completely stopped wearing a watch. For so many years, wearing a watch had been an anal part of my personality. From years of working in fields that required I manage others and know what time to start projects, I had always worn a watch. Knowing what time it was had become an obsession; almost compulsive. After becoming a writer and deciding that I’d live by my own rules, even if that meant going without a lot of things sometimes, I also gave up caring about the time. Recently, I’d become so carefree about it that I often forgot what day it was and holidays came upon me with complete surprise. Every day of my life was a holiday in so many ways now.
While it was true that I really had little money and couldn’t afford the finer things in life, I was predominantly happy now. It was a little unsettling to me that I had become so reclusive, but there was no drama that way. I avoided drama and stress almost as passionately as I wrote. Sometimes it bothered me that I may just be avoiding a natural part of life, instead of learning how to just deal with it in a healthy way. I considered that perhaps I was just ‘taking a break from it all’ and that was okay … but how was I going to re-emerge? When would I know the time was right?
Raleigh and I had seen a lot of each over the summer. There was a relationship between us that was deeply rooted in friendship. It was more than a friendship … but then it wasn’t. There was really no description that fit. We had both reached places in our lives where we resisted being labeled, placed into boxes or having expectations placed upon us. Neither of us did well with that sort of thing. We never talked about how we felt about each other, it was just the way it was and we accepted it the way that you accept the breeze upon your face … it is welcomed but understood that even the best of breezes don’t last forever and one cannot fully depend on a good breeze being there for you all the time. This was how I thought of her. She was a gentle breeze at times, that made my life a happy place. There were times that she was a hurricane force wind that made me uncomfortable or knocked me off my feet, but I still relished the adrenaline rush that came from it. Other times … there was no breeze at all and I knew that she was still out there and patiently awaited her return. It was free, as all things should be. I respected it as something that was not to be controlled or always understood. It was imperfect, in all the most beautiful ways that something, or someone, can be – it was, in fact, perfect.
Who Says You Can’t Go Home?
I poured another cup of coffee and sat down in front of my computer. As I pushed the button that would connect me to the world beyond, I was still pondering how I’d come to be where I was. Home is something that I’d sought for most of the last twenty years of my life and it had only been in the last year of my life that I’d come to realize that home is inside of me. I’d been getting ‘my house’ in order now for a few months and it hadn’t been easy – once your shit falls so far apart, it takes a while to go through all the pieces and figure it out. What I was coming to realize was that I’d been running away from so much, for so long, that finding my way back to the beginning was like following a trail of tears that had long since dried-up. I got lost sometimes.
Raleigh had confronted me about spending so much time in my home town earlier that year. Apparently, I’d been sounding pretty negative about the place over the phone and she didn’t understand what it was I’d been seeking. I supposed that she’d known me well enough to know there was a reason? At that time, until thinking it over, I hadn’t been sure either. It was just a gut feeling I’d had. Visiting my hometown was something that I had always been compelled to do, but it was less about the present and more about reclaiming my past. That was the place I had been abused, traumatized and belittled behind closed doors. It was a place that I should have felt safe … but I never did. It was a source of angry energy that I had been drawn to, like a moth to a flame. I’d either burn alive or the flame would be extinguished. That had been my resolve.
As an adult, I was able to stare at the house I grew up in and reclaim some happy memories. I had made a journal, with a list of all the bad things I remembered. Back in Florida now, I intended to burn those memories to ashes in a can, take them to the cemetery my parents were buried in and spread them over their graves. With this ritual, I also meant to forgive them once and for all. I knew that when I did this, I’d never return to their graves again. I was cutting the cord and releasing the Karmic debt. I would be absolving myself of the past and freeing myself to move on – burning the symbolic bridges and breaking the invisible chains.
For some people, I supposed this could be seen as walking away from the past and therefore just running again. I imagined that some people may view my way of dealing with it to be very extreme. I didn’t really care. For me, it had become a trip towards something – a return of my soul to self. This had been my way of ‘going home’ and finding my way back to who I was when I was not burdened with the memories. Who says you can’t go home? Don’t question the trip, question where home really is!
For now, life was coming back together. I used my walks along the beach to call my energy back to me. Every ounce of energy that I had freely given to others for so many years, I was now calling back to me. I stopped to look at shells on the beach and I savored every breath that I took, knowing that it could potentially be a last breath at any time. My house was getting in order and though I had no idea where tomorrow would lead me, I was happier than I had ever been; I was home.
If you enjoy the writing, please consider purchasing a book. Everything I earn from my writing allows me to have the time to publish this blog and write more books. Remember that independent authors are also artists and our work is how we earn a living. Thanks for coming by to visit!
I’D LIKE TO THANK PHOENIX PHOTOS FOR PROVIDING ME WITH THIS IMAGE TO SHARE
One year ago, today, I posted my first blog here. I started as a means to promote a book but it grew to be far more than that. At this very time, a year ago, I was dating someone. She was a nice enough person, but she was dry, spent far too much free time watching television and she didn’t have the same world views as I did. I used this blog to begin expressing all the emotions – the ups and the downs – that I felt.
The day I really knew Laura and I weren’t suited for each other, she called me from downtown Ft Myers. She had gone to meet friends for a walk/jog after work. She finished first and was sitting on a bench waiting for the others and talking to me on the phone. She had gotten a pizza slice at a street vendor in the area. She didn’t like the area of town and was complaining to me about how unsafe she felt. A man came and sat next to her, on the bench and she became totally freaked-out and informed that he was probably homeless and she could feel her skin crawling. I finally said to her, “Maybe he just wanted a slice of pizza because he was hungry?” S I L E N C E. She thought I was nuts and I thought she was out of touch.
Here I am, 365 days later. I’m free and single, 1500 miles away from where I was. I’m now in Illinois, but I am planning a return to Florida in the winter. I’m thinking of making it my permanent home again, but I’m playing it by ear – as I always do. I’ve learned to do what feels right in my gut. It’s sort of a “I’ll know when I get there” sort of thing for me.
At any rate, I’ve met some truly amazing people over the last year. I’ve met writers, hitchhikers, homeless people, truck drivers, and made friends on Facebook with people from all over the world. I have people in my life that I’ve know for forty years and people that I’ve never met in person – and they all touch me in wonderful ways.
In the last year, this blog has received fifty-eight THOUSAND page views. I’ve posted one-hundred twenty-one blogs which have received six-HUNDRED fourteen comments. I’ve gained seven-hundred fans to my Facebook fan page, two-thousand four hundred blog subscribers, published ten books, traveled in five states, dated one person but broke-up with two , put two thousand miles on my RV and I lost my dog. Through it all, you guys have been there. Some of you have been there the whole year and some of you just hopped on this train. Let me warn you newbies, it’s fast moving sometimes!
This all humbles me very much and it makes me smile. I never thought in a million years that I would have come so far in a year. I simply wanted to do what made me happy. I’ve always been a drifter and I’ve never been one to work anywhere at a j.o.b. for long. I get bored with that sort of stuff. Writing allows me to use my imagination. Fiction work is a way that I can escape reality and use my artistic side. Non-fiction work gives my inquisitive side a reason to learn more about the topics that interest me. I truly get the best of everything as a writer.
My friend’s four-year old is at that stage where he asks about everything. When he asks, “what is compost?” and then follows it up with, “why?” I can answer him. Sometimes he asks me things like, “How do combines work?” I do my best to answer him in ways that he can understand but are truly informational. I don’t believe in talking down to children if it can be helped. He once looked at me and asked, “How do you know so much?” *insert HUGE smile* I took the opportunity to tell him that school played a large part in it (because he also doesn’t like school very much yet) and then I followed with, “I’m writer, that’s just what I do. I put things into words so that other people can learn about things too.” He smiled and paused before the onslaught of questions started again. I love that he asks questions. It reminds me to stop and look at the world through his eyes sometimes. Children can give you a very unique perspective.
For all these things, I’m thankful. I am thankful for the people who remind me that a writer sees the world from a different view than others do. An artist looks at a flower and pictures it on canvas. A photographer sees things in still frames. I see the story in everything. Words are my paint and my laptop is my brush. I don’t strive for perfection, only the satisfaction of telling the story. Today, I thank YOU for allowing me to tell my stories. I value your input, your comments, your thoughts and reflections on my work. and when you tell me that something I have written has helped you in some way. I treasure the emails from fans who tell me that I’ve helped them with a struggle or that I’ve put something into words when they could not.
Thanks for making it a wonderful year of growing, learning and sharing. I hope the next year is filled with much more of the same for all of us.
Also, the follow-up book to “Twisted: Flashbacks” will be coming out soon. If you have not yet read the original, you can pick-up your copy here. This is a fiction novella with a follow-up novel coming very soon!
A couple of years ago, I embarked on a journey. This has been a spiritual journey for me, as well as one that has taken me to Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and all the way back to Illinois. I uprooted myself in a somewhat semi-permanent fashion, got rid of several hundred pounds of personal belongings and moved into this RV. I’ve lived a very minimalistic lifestyle for a all this time. I enjoy it, but I have found that this was a learning time for me – a time that I very much needed – and it is time for some change.
I often come back to Illinois to “regroup” and I have been blessed to have my friend Sheila here. She understands me in many ways. She knows that I have been on a soul journey these past few years. She knows that I feel things that are hard to explain and that life touches me in ways that some people can’t feel it. I try to pull the positive lessons out of every encounter and each experience, sometimes when they are painful I learn the most. That’s really life. The painful things can help us grow by moving us beyond our comfort zones. I’ve needed that and I knew that I did.
I spent the better part of seven years in a relationship that pushed me to the brink. We had a home, two cars, splendid furnishings, jobs, pets, ate out too much, got a college educations and better jobs … but the relationship itself was awful. There was no trust, no compassion, no joy in it at all. We just went through the motions of what we thought it was “supposed to be” when you were in a relationship. The person I lived with was narcissistic and detached. Lies of omission were part of daily life with her. It drove me crazy. Literally, I was crazed. I ended-up on medication because she told me I was crazy so many times that I started to believe it myself. I was on a whole host of prescription drugs that were meant to ‘make me normal’ when all the while they just made me more crazy.
When that relationship finally came to an abrupt halt, I was still very shaky. I’d tried to kill myself twice and contemplated it a third time. I was an emotional and psychological train wreck. I had no idea who I was anymore. I didn’t know what I liked to do, how I liked to spend my time, what I thought about the world around me anymore either. I’d been living in a bubble, like a hostage, for seven years. Like a baby, I had to rediscover myself.
There have been many mistakes since then, but I have spent the better part of the last six years alone. There have been dates and a few flings but nothing of any sort of permanent nature. It seemed like everyone wanted me to change or conform to their idea of what I should be. That scares me, after having gone through what I did. I did see a therapist for a long time who told me that I definitely had PTSD from the previous long-term relationship. I had more trauma over that relationship than I did my father’s suicide, which seemed to amaze her. This is why I’m so outspoken about domestic abuse now and I stress that it does not need to be physical abuse. Mental abuse is far more damaging in the long run.
So, with no roots, no real family and no reasons to stay anywhere, I have let myself be blown from here to there. I’ve lived in Colorado, Illinois, Missouri, Florida and spent short periods in every state in between them all. Yes, many of you think it is an amazing way to live and that I am lucky. In some respects it is, but it is also very tiring. This RV is small, has no heat when it isn’t plugged in to a power source and I have been so cold that I wonder how I didn’t die a couple of times. I remember waking one morning and not being able to feel my feet. I tried to get out of bed and I couldn’t walk for a few minutes. I staggered into a Starbucks to warm myself and actually checked my feet in the bathroom for frostbite. No black or bright red – I was good.
There was the time in Alabama, exactly a year ago, when it was so hot that the RV hit 136 degrees inside and all I could do was sit. It was too hot to cook or move and I closed the curtains and stripped down to my boxers and sport bra and prayed for rain. It was that weekend that I wrote my first book, “Butch Sexology” with just a pencil and a legal pad. I published it on May 29th, if I recall correctly. What a year it has been! I’ve learned that I can do anything that I want.
So…I just had to figure out what I want. I know I don’t EVER want to be so cold that I can’t feel my feet ever again. The things that are important to me are not possessions by any means. Lifestyle is important to me. I believe in living a purposeful life and a simple life. In talking with Ellen again, she has told me about the city of St Pete’s stance on sustainable living. I was immediately intrigued. I can have a small house, a big garden and even raise chickens in my backyard. I can be warm year round. I can have peace and quiet and still be in a city that offers me all the things I love, such as theaters, beaches, performing arts, museums, fishing, fresh food, sports and so much more. I can have a little home office, where I can hide in the evenings and continue to tap out my books. I can have BOOK SHELVES again. 🙂 The thought of it all is almost mind-blowing to me. I haven’t had anywhere I have thought of as “home” for a long, long time. Well, it is time and I am ready. I’m making the leap.
There you have it! What lesson have I learned? That in attempting to change the world, the world changes us. It’s up us whether this is for the better or for the worst. I think I finally hit “for the better” and I am officially going to park the RV in storage this fall. I’ll be hanging up the keys for a while. It will still be there so I can enjoy weekend excursions and I will still fly here and there when I can. If I can park it in a back yard, it may just become my “writing cave” but who knows? I’ll never fully give traveling up, because I do love to see the sights and explore places … but this butch is ready to hang her many hats somewhere with a permanent hook for a while. 🙂
The sun is just beginning to cast its fiery orange hues over the horizon, with a dramatic foreground of black trees and a blue sky that lies somewhere in the middle of the layers of the Illinois sky. Our weather here is like it is everywhere … unpredictable. This week we will have a low of thirty-two degrees (last night) and a high in the upper eighties; a fifty degree swing in temperatures for the week. It seems inconceivable that people still don’t believe that climates are changing all over the world.
For those of you who remember the earthquake in Haiti, you may not have heard the little talked about result? The earthquake was so powerful that is actually moved the entire planet. Yes, the earth shifted one whole degree on its axis. One degree doesn’t seem like much, but it is certainly enough to throw the calendar out of whack a bit and delay seasons here and there. My advice to you is to roll with it because there will be more changes, due to the fact that global warming was already beginning to make some changes.
This morning, as I sit here, I can hear the birds happily chirping from the nightly roosts. Here in the country, there is no sound of cars. Once in a while, a car will go buzzing past, interrupted by the seasonal tractors that are beginning to be seen in fields. In the city, people judge others by what they wear. In Illinois, people judge each other by their favorite type of tractor. Are you an International Harvester fan? John Deere? There are others….but I can’t bring myself to mention them. I’m a John Deere country girl. Yes … the only green I care for is dotted with yellows and probably on a combine. Even when I am in the city, as I often am, I can be seen wearing my camo boots or even my Carhartt baseball hat. If you are very lucky, then you may even find me wearing my cowboy hat and leather boots. You can take the girl out of the country, but I assure you this – you can NOT take the country out of the girl!
For the past few weeks I have been enjoying hunting wild morel mushrooms and wild asparagus. I have found a stand of cattails and I am anxious to try some recipes for those, so I will be waiting for them to come into season later in the summer. The berries won’t be ready to pick for a while, but the bushes found are plentiful. I can taste the goodies now. Yes, I love this country way of life, I admit. No doubt, the way I was raised and where I grew-up has a lot to do with the way that I view the world and the way I prioritize things in my life now. You see, I LOVE this planet and I really want it to last. I want the next generations to see what it is like to admire Mother Earth in all her beauty and to know the pure, untainted joy of reaping the fresh fruits and vegetables that she provides for us.
Cat tails in Indiana.
I see so much that is wrong with the world to be a result of getting away from nature and “country” by people today. I see people beating themselves up to work 40+ hours per week to earn as much money as they can. For what? To pay for the car that they need to take them to work! To pay for groceries that are poisoning them with GMO crops and pesticides. As a nation, the United State’s health is declining. We have become a country of people who are over-stressed, over-worked and have no time to raise our own children. This I see to be a snowball effect.
When I was a restaurant manager, part of my duties were the hiring and training of new crew. I considered myself a “people” person and I managed from the viewpoint that my employees were the most important part of my business. When customers come into a restaurant, it is the employees who greet them, seat them, take their order, make small talk and laugh with them that will keep them coming back. The food is only part of the equation and the fact is that even if your food is mediocre, people will return if the customer service is outstanding. So … for that reason, I set aside time in my schedule to personally train and mentor each new employee. Other managers would ask me how I found time. They considered it crazy on my part with all else we had to do. My response to them was always, “If you don’t make time to do things right in the first place, when are you going to have time to fix mistakes later? By training them exactly the way I want, I save time in the long run.”
Getting back to our children, this same philosophy applies. So many parents are working so hard to pay mortgages, car payments, grocery bills and utility bills that they scarcely have any time left for their children. What if everything you had been taught was wrong? What if life wasn’t about having a “career?” What if you stayed home, had a garden large enough to feed your family, raised a milk cow and a beef cow? Maybe you have a hog for bacon if that is your thing? Not only would you not get out of bed with an alarm clock ( an extremely offensive way to start any day!) but you would also be able to plan your day around your own schedule. That means you can plan around your children. What a novel idea!
“How would I pay for my SUV,” you ask. Well my answer is simple – “who says you need it?” Now I realize you are thinking I am a little crazy right now, but I assure that if you stick with me you will begin to see what I am saying here. The average SUV is never driven off-road. WTH do you need it for? I mean REALLY NEED it for? If you live in the city, you can plant a yard full of vegetables. If you are an apartment dweller, you can plant vertical gardens on patios, balconies, etc. Even if you have to work to pay for other necessities like rent and power, you certainly would not have to work as hard if you supplied all your own food, now would you? In fact, the average family could work HALF as many hours as they do right now, if they didn’t spend money at the grocery store.
Cities all across the nation are allowing people to grow gardens in their front yards. In large metropolitan areas that have little grass, people are planting community gardens in empty lots and using strips along curbs and sidewalks to plant ‘free’ gardens for the entire neighborhood. If you are lucky enough to live on the outskirts of town, raising one goat to supply milk for your family will give you more than enough milk to even make your own soap! A small goat can yield more than a quart of milk per day. As soon as her kid is weaned, you can sell it to pay for having the goat. Incidentally, goats will exist on grass if you have room to graze them. Goats will eat bushes and most any ground cover, small trees and whatever they can reach. Fence them away from what you don’t want them to eat! As far as them eating tin cans and “anything” – nothing could be further from the truth. While they do ‘mouth’ things, they are very selective about what they eat. Grazing a goat with cattle is good because goats tend to eat what the cows will not eat and they both eat things that benefit the other. For examply, goats will eat the parts of plants that tend to harbor parasites that are harmful to cattle. Grazing them together or one right after the other is beneficial!
Let me talk about foraging for food. This is one of my favorite pastimes. Walking along the bottom of ditches in the spring, April-May, you can find a lot of asparagus growing wild. This is FREE FOOD. This is my favorite type of gardening….the kind I don’t have to plant, weed or water. Mother Earth provides a lot of free food if you are willing to look for it. Morel mushrooms grow in the spring as well. Both asparagus and mushrooms can be frozen. Berries grow wild too. This foraging can and SHOULD be a family affair. Walking is good for the soul and it is fantastic exercise. The food you gather is GMO free and good for you.
When health issues plague us like they do now, shouldn’t the food you eat be considered your most important investment? Let me go to some statistics, taken from the article referenced below by Eva Jacobs and Stephanie Shipp. In 1903, a full ninety-seven percent of a household’s annual income went to the food that they consumed. By 1960 that percent had declined to only seventy-nine percent. People were making choices to spend money on mortgages, cars, gasoline and other non-necessity things. By 1987 only seventy-three percent of income was spend on food. These figures certainly do not mean that the cost of food went down. We all know better than that. A gallon of milk in 1980 averaged $1.25. A gallon of milk today will run anywhere from $3 to $4.50, depending upon where you live in the country. So, what these statistics mean is that people are opting for more of what I call “crap food.”
More and more families are existing on Ramen Noodles and Hamburger Helper to fill their bellies, while nutrionally starving themselves. Not only do we, as a society, not eat properly but we also pump ourselves full of soft drinks for numerous reasons. The makes of soft drinks have laced them with ingredients designed to make you crave more, for one thing. Secondly, it is often cheaper to buy a soft drink than it is to buy 100% juice or even a bottle of water. People choose what is cheap. Period. For many years, this resulted in increasing cancer mortality rates. In 2003, cancer and heart-disease fully accounted for 51.1% of all deaths. That is an astonishing number. In the 1930s, just over 50,000 men and 50,000 women per year died of cancer related illness. By the year 2000, this number had grown to almost 300,000 for men and just over 250,000 for women. Is it purely coincidence that we are now relying on what the grocery stores sell us, rather than eating fresh foods? I highly doubt it, personally.
Companies like Monsanto have virtually taken over our food. Small farmers are being put out of business because of these corporate behemoths. This is a true David vs Goliath problem, with us being David. I’m trying very hard, this morning, to show you that there are other ways of living. There are choices that you can make, no matter where you live, to simplify your life, give yourself some relaxation time, have more time for your family (which is a whole ‘nother blog) and truly be more healthy! We cannot let companies like Dow, Bayer, Monsanto, Proctor and Gamble and so many others take over the food we put in our bodies. Americans have sold their souls and their health to corporate America. Not only should you be worried about it, you should be angry! This is another freedom that has been taken away from you – the freedom to be healthy and choose what goes in your body. Bit by bit, Americans have given up their time to work more hours to pay for what amounts to less, only to find out it is starving them and killing them in the long run.
While you may not be able to do like I did and move yourself into an RV that you can park most anywhere for free when you need to, you can learn to forage for wild food. You can grow vertical gardens in very little space and you can begin making small changes in your diet right now … today. You will not be sorry if you do. My own personal experience on soft drinks should ring true with some of you:
Diet Mountain Dew was my drink of choice for a very long time. Not only is it a diuretic, but it is also laced with chemicals that are used in embalming bodies after death. Artificial sweeteners used in it are not only addictive, but very harmful. Aspartame has been linked to many issues. There are NINETY-ONE symptoms of Aspartame poisoning. Here are a few:
*numb-tingling hands and feet
*Fibromyalgia-like hot spots (all over)
*chronic-fatigue like exhaustion
*vision problems/blurry vision
*burning/tingling in feet and legs
*shooting-stabbing pains in my legs and other joints
I stopped drinking soft drinks about a month ago. It was a HARD habit to break but here are the results for me: No more body aches, the chronic back pain has completely subsided. The shooting pains in my shoulders has completely stopped. My energy levels have stopped. I am not running to the bathroom every 30 minutes anymore, even though I still consume over a gallon of water and/or juice each day. My vision has cleared up so much that I have stopped wearing bifocals to read and type. My focus is getting better, the mind fog has gone away. My bones had stopped creaking. Just in a MONTH!
So stop and think about. How many of today’s chronic illnesses are a result of the things we put in our mouths? How many of you are investing more in the car(s) you drive than you are in your food each month? Shouldn’t YOU be the biggest investment in your life? I challenge you to make just ONE change your dietary habits this week. If you are a soft drink lover, perhaps you should start thinking about removing it from your diet and see how you feel? If you have space to plant a garden, even on a balcony, try growing something…anything to start!
Forage for food, even in urban settings. I used to walk all over Denver and pick wild plants.In fact, I knocked on doors and asked if I could pick apples that I saw going to waste! People are happy to not have to pick them up! Get yourself a good guide book. If you would like to get a copy of my newest book, “Incredible Wild Edibles – Eat For Free,” send me a message or comment here and I will send you a link to the book that releases THIS week! Full of pictures, information and even recipes for enjoying your findings, this book will take you from start to finish and show you how to slow down, enjoy nature and appreciate the food you put in your mouth.
Know what is humbling? Logging into your blog for the first time in almost two months and seeing that you are still averaging almost 200 readers per day and that you have surpassed the 50,000 hits that you had initially hoped for in your wildest dreams – and it isn’t quite yet a year! THANK YOU!
You all know that I write about life and that can be so many things! My readers tell me that what they find most endearing is the way I let people in and share how I really feel in the most raw way possible. I don’t hold back … even when it doesn’t paint me in the greatest of lights. Life has humbled me to the point that I just don’t feel a need to try to look good. I’d rather be myself, in all my screwed-up glory. I’m imperfect. Ask all three credit bureaus. I’m honestly thinking of contacting Guinness Book of records to see if I may just have the lowest credit score in the nation. Seriously. That bad. In the words of a four year old that I love very much, “Guess what?? NOBODY CARES!!” (followed by MUCH giggling) Joshua indeed has his own unique way of looking at the world and it is amazing what you can learn from children. Keep it simple. Focus on what is in front of you. Don’t get hung-up in details. If you can get someone else to do it, that’s one thing you don’t have to worry about. Keep asking for what you want until someone gives it to you. The word ‘no’ has little meaning if you choose to ignore it. Yep…that’s wisdom right there, folks.
I’m sorry that I’ve been out of touch and away from my usual posts. I’ve had a LOT of emotional things going on and I don’t really talk these things out. I stew on them. I let them sink in. I allow pain to seep into my veins and turn the blood of my soul from red to black from time to time. Once all the sludge turns to goo, it is time to sit, write and let it all out. That’s the way I work – it’s how I roll. Now I can breathe again and let that oxygen flow and cleanse me, from the deepest recesses of all that is me!
I don’t believe that one single minute of any day is wasted. Even if I choose to just sit or nap all day, that is not a wasted day! Rejuvenating the spirit, the soul, having time to think and learn and take a look at our progress is important. I’m always reminded of a line from an Indigo Girls song, “…every five years or so I look back on my life and I have a good laugh…”. That is important. We are new people each day. You are not the same person that you were yesterday. You have new cells, your are chemically not exactly the same because it fluctuates and your thoughts today are not exactly the same as yesterday. We are in a constant state of flux. That is life. If things didn’t change, then we wouldn’t be growing.
Did I mention that I’m 45 now? Yep…I had a birthday! Nothing like a birthday to remind you that your body is getting older and more worn out. Thinking I need some maintenance. Where to start? For one thing, I gave up soda (or ‘pop’ when I’m here at home in Illinois). Would you believe that my vision is clearing up? It is! I don’t need bifocals to see my computer or to read! I’ve been drinking over a gallon of water, with grape juice, each day for several days and I am sitting here typing away without reading glasses on! Amazing. My joints are day to day. My shoulder is feeling much better since stopping the Diet Dew too. I’m beginning to think that there is more to that stuff being poison than I ever realized and from now on I am going to envision a skull and crossbones on a bottle of it and think of it as drinking rat poison!!
Now…how do I heal my soul? I’m gonna lay it all out for you. Jo hurt me a lot. She lied to me in ways that I honestly trusted her not to. I flat-out asked her to promise me that she’d not play with my feelings when we first started talking again. She did anyway and while it hurt me extremely deeply and I’ve needed much time to heal, I’m out on the other side of it and I feel good again. The biggest thing is that I forgive her and I realize that I need to follow my own blog! Somewhere along the line I wrote that ‘people only love you as much as they can’ and I got that line from Laura. Laura is the woman I went to Florida for last year. Wow. She must have been telling me a lot about herself when she said that. I forgive Laura too. Even though I spent three days in a hospital, scared and in tears a time or two and she never visited me once, I forgive her. I hope she forgives me for not being able to be the person she needed me to be. Her idea of my life and my idea of my life were two very different things. I’m not cut-out for living in a house with someone, being tied down to bills, routines and time clocks. It just isn’t going to happen. She kept telling me that she was waiting for my life to ‘settle down’ and I kept waiting for her to love me as I was. Two different people, two different paths and it took me realizing that it wasn’t meant and it wasn’t going to happen. That didn’t mean I didn’t care for her…anymore that it means I don’t still care for Jo. I do. I don’t turn-off feelings and emotions for people that meant something to me. People think I do, because I walk away but that isn’t true at all. I simply put myself first. I have a conscious and sometimes it gets the best of me, keeps me up at night and makes want to sit down and write an email and just say hello. I’m getting better at not sending them.
I’ve been talking to my ex from twenty years ago. It is a long story and I’m not going to get into it all again. Ellen is the one person in my life that I have held onto all these years and wanted to talk to again. There was a Karmic connection and a reason to contact again. She’s grown. She’s different in a lot of ways … and in some ways she’s the same and she knows I know. <insert smile here> You see, the part of me that has grown is the part that no longer needs to force someone into a mold that I think is ‘right’ or ‘correct’ in some way. I do not judge and I don’t begrudge anyone living their life and following their path the way that they need to. I know how to keep a safe distance now. Fact is, I honestly LIKE Ellen. She’s funny, witty, smart, charming when she wants to be, sassy as hell (which I always admired – even when it was directed at me) and she is one of the most resourceful people I’ve ever known. I ADMIRE her … even when she doesn’t admire herself. Fact is, she is one of the few people I was ever involved with who has grown and I don’t mind her in my life again, because I don’t feel that it is a step backwards in any way. I feel like we’ve both grown forward and we just aren’t the same people anymore. Does this make sense? I don’t mind saying this, knowing that she’ll read it, but I still love her. I always have and I always held everyone else in all these years up to her as a comparison…which wasn’t fair to them and a hell of a lot to live up to…but it’s true. For what it’s worth, I’m not afraid to admit that. I believe that coming to terms with things in our lives is very much about being truthful and honest, with OURSELVES as much as with others. So, I admit it, I never got over her and I don’t truly know why. I just didn’t. I admitted to someone that I lived with for six years that if Ellen had shown-up knocking on my door and wanting to get back together, that I’d have left with her. Sad huh? I mean, I feel terrible that I SAID that … but it was the honest truth. That was EIGHT years after we hadn’t been together too. Strange to say it, but the only thing I ever believed in was her and I’m SO proud that she raised Amelia and made it when all the chips were down. Against all odds, she survived. I know it wasn’t probably pretty and it wasn’t easy or perfect by any means…but she did it and I’m honestly so proud of her and I really want her to know that, because I mean it so much. It was only when I moved into this RV that I threw away a lot of things from my past because I knew that clinging to the past is not the right thing to do….but there were a few things that I kept that were extremely important to me. This was one thing that I could never and will never part with…
You can’t imagine with my life as scattered as it is and has been – the moving, the traveling and life I lead – how hard it may be to keep track of things. I always know where this photo is on a moments notice.
So here I am. Alone. I’m okay with that. I’m simply acknowledging how I feel today and the things going ’round in my head. I’m not trying to get back together with anyone, not looking for anyone new. I’m just happy to live today and to feel this breeze in my face. That photo may seem sad, but to me it isn’t. It reminds me that I had a very, very happy time in my life and I was lucky to have had it. I’ve been lucky for every day ever since. When I left her, I drank myself into a stupor for about three years. I practically lived at the bar, playing Garth Brook’s “The Dance” on the jukebox and wallowing in grief. If I had all the money back that I drank away, I could probably travel well for a year. Paycheck after paycheck I pissed into the toilet, literally. I’ve come a long, long way. I’m sober now. I’m humble. I feel too much sometimes, but I am not afraid to face what I feel with quiet dignity and know that I have been blessed many times over. I choose to be thankful and yes, Ellen, I choose to be proud of you and believe in you. You deserve that.