Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Madison County GA

So it is now 3 days before we end the year ‘010….It has been a year of blessings and challenges, just like any other year.  I seriously do like to think of our successes as the upsides of a large downturn. 

In many ways this past year we gained by letting go and seriously adapted to our surroundings, Rosemary and I.  I am so honored to have a partner like Rosemary Kimble who loves me as I am and supports and allows me to be however I want to be and to go after whatever dreams I want to seek….I am just so excited to think of what the future holds with this kind of trust and support that we give one another…..so many great things have taken place…it is hard to mentioned them all. 

Here is a list of things we did this past year…built earthships in Taos and GA, hiked in Rocky Mountain National Park at 11k feet, let go of two homes (one foreclosure and one short-sold) strategically defaulting[1] on the loans, purchased 6.75 acres of land, sold everything and was robbed of some of what we tried to hold onto, and I actually sat with a licensed architect and designed a prototype of an Earthship off-grid home[2].  Rosemary and I both traveled the whole country together painting faces and henna tattoos adding a few new festivals and Rosemary continuing to make a living as an artist.  It has been our willingness to step into the unknown and uncomfortable that has allowed us to be where we are today, 12/28/2010….supporting one another and opening doors of communication rather than closing them…..

Currently, Rosemary and I have been spending the last 2 months clearing over-growth, harvesting wood for fuel and clearing space in order to build a 1 bedroom and guest house/garage structures so that we may once again have a home.  In 2 weeks we will begin to really see that we are making progress.  We will have a gravel driveway installed and demolish the old house that is unsafe to inhabit.  We will also harvest the beams from that home and use as much of the materials to build a double outhouse and composting bins and possibly a out-building to hold tools and shelter the shallow well that exists on the lower portion of the property. 

2010 will always be the year that we started to build what we truly feel to be our dream, a 100% off-grid mini-farm.  I say 100% off-grid,  but we will be connected to the internet of course and we will have a fuel such as propane.  I speant 30% of 2010 specifically looking at land that was within 3 hours of Atanta, between 5 and 10 acres, south-facing, south sloping, partially pasture and partially hardwoods near a college town or urban area, preferably medical care….And I found it in Royston, GA. 

We are 20 minutes from lake Hartwell, 25 minutes from Toccoa and the Blue Ridge Mountains, 30 minutes from University of Georgia in Athens, GA, and are surrounded by 100 acres farms, rolling hills and can hear the cows in the fields when we eat dinner…..I never thought we would be in this position when we began 2010, but life has a way of happening and we feel good about it.   

So this is where we are today….I like where we are today. 

[1]  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_default

Monday, April 5, 2010

Earthships in Taos

I made it to Taos 4 days ago. What a beautiful place to land. So much has taken place over the last 4 weeks. Most importantly, I made it here and am beginning to live a dream I have had for the last year. the more I step closer to this dream, the more blown away I am. The books I have read and the website only does so much.....I will be staying in an Earthship for the next 3 weeks while building the same model. Last night was so peaceful, quiet, and silent, the kind of silent I ahve not experienced in a while. Granted, I was in the desert, but the building itself is intensely balanced. It is kind of weird, kind of like the Earth is blessing the building with Peace....I guess you would have to experience one in order to know what I am talking about. I took many photos of the systems (Solar, inverters, pressure tanks, venting, electrical, etc) in detail. So this is what I am getting involved with these days. It is so nice to have found a purpose, even if it is for only a period of time. My gutt is telling me that this is the beginning of a much larger purpose, a much more full-filling journey than I have been on in life. So here are some pics of the Earthship I am staying in, and the jobsite I will be working on. In 3 weeks I will head to Wyoming for 2 weeks, and then back here to Taos fto finish my 4 week session.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Earthship 101 video (10 minutes of looking outside the box)

The links below give you 10 minutes of an Earthship by Michael Reynolds, the founder.

For those of you following this blog, now you have more than just my rambling on about these things called Earthships. I hope you enjoy!

Earthship 101 part 1

Earthship 101 part 2

I am absolutely thrilled to have this opportunity. Rosemary is a huge part of this journey. It is from here loving support and her motivating me to live outside of traditional norms that has brought me to this point. My willingness to seek passion and to take risks in spite of fear are also a part of this.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Allignment is nice....

Do you ever have one of those days that gives you the feeling that everything is lining up for you, things run smoothly, your wishes come true, communication is open and all is good. That was me today.

I woke up with my dog at 7:30 and needed to figure out the estimated amount it costs to repair my clutch with a new clutch disc and parts. I had no idea how I would fund this repair since funds are running low. I decided that I would start taking pictures and posting items I do not use but are worth money. Stereo receiver, surround speakers, center speak, shelf speakers, sub woofer, and other items that had accumulated over the years in my basement. I am even selling my kiteboarding gear since I have the ability to rent gear wherever the sport takes place. Why own them and test ride the best gear? I ended up estimating the need for $500 for a clutch repair. I ended up with around $1,000 in my pocket by 8:30 tonight. I sold the utility trailer to my ex business partner at a steal for $300. He needed it for business and I can always borrow it when I need it. My neighbor ended up giving me some money for the Bose shelf speakers I listed. So needless to say, I was excited that my truck will be repaired Monday.

So for the past few months I have been feeling so ready to jump back into the workforce with a specific direction. I have mentioned Earthships, so that is my direction. Well, I have been getting anxious and bored waiting for the Wyoming build in late April and wished that it would just get here so I could begin my education. Well today it arrived in the form of a Four week Earthship session take place from April 5 - April 28th. The session will include ne full day of classroom work and the rest of the time is spent on a job site building. Sounds good to me!!! If this does take place, my travels would take me directly to Wyoming for the second internship there. 6 weeks of pure on-the-job training, playing with earth and building homes. Grey watr systems, solar and wind electricity, indoor greenhouses, rain cisterns for water storage, and utility bills of $100 per year. I am excited that this is taking place and the opportunity presented itself. By 4:45 pm on this Friday, I called and they only had one spot left, and it was mine.

So this is how my day ended up, not that I needed to express this to the world, but damn it feels good to be alive.!! To feel movement in your life, to feel growth and hopefully wisdom from the knowledge we gain from life's experiences, the good and the bad. Damn it is good to be alive.

Rosemary and I have discussed hosting and organizing the first annual HennaCon Southeast. January of 2011 is the goal we think. Workshops hosted by world famous henna artists, some are acquaintances from her work in LA last July. We have lots of ideas and loved TribalCon (The belly dancing conference) a few weeks ago. What an opportunity to network in her field of expertise. I am excited to support this effort and watch a great event connect the henna community here in the southeast.

These are my current updates into the lives of our crazy selves. If anyone wants items of theirs to be sold on craigslist, I can do it, quickly. It was my job today and I succeeded.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Grayton Beach State Park

While in Florida at Grayton State Park, I gained a new loved for simplicity and of all things, the minivan. I usually associate these vehicles with moms and children. I think I mentioned in a previous post that this would be the year of simple travel. I am in love with minivans. We pulled out all of the seats, threw in a futon mattress, a cargo carrier on top, and a small cooler, and the minivan became our own private space protecting us from the elements. I love tents, don’t get me wrong, but having a hard shell over you while sleeping can be comforting. We had the travel trailer for just that reason. The back cup holders make great candle holders of pillar candles. We put the laptop on the cooler and can watch movies at night. I am of the opinion that if I were to travel more, I think the minivan is the perfect vehicle. Minivans rock!

As far as everything else is going, we aren’t making money here this time around. We will have to wait for Springfest to make some money. I have speant the last few days hiking in the Point Washington State Forest. There are some great trails that go for miles in and out of a few different ecosystems. Marley loves it and it gives Rosemary and I some time to connect with nature. So quiet and so peaceful. The beaches are almost deserted during this week of Spring Break. Oh well, it is a nice beach vacation anyway.

Upon my return I’m headed on a river trip down the Flint River, two days of paddling and a overnight halfway.
The mens group I am a member of has brought some much needed support in my journey of life. It could not have come at a better time. We are a group whose three pillars are outdoor activities, community service and spiritual growth mainly being Lakota teachings. Since I have not really gravitated to Christianity, it is nice to have an opportunity to learn more about the teachings of the Lakota Indians. In my opinion, their teachings and views are inspirational and provide a framework that everyone should consider studying. I am listening to a great audio book right now that discusses the heart of Native American philosophy and the twelve core qualities that are crucial to the Lakota way of life, The Red Road. The twelve qualities include living-bravery, fortitude, generosity, wisdom, respect, honor, perseverance, love, humility, sacrifice, truth and compassion.

I am sure to take a closer look at each of these core qualities and my observations of daily living.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Being Vulnerable and Blood type diet

I was warned that I should be careful as to what I post. Sharing my inner thoughts and questions, might open me up to judgment and criticism from others. I guess this type of expression might be part of the journey I am on in a way. I think that by getting it out, and writing about unpleasurable realities is a way of healing and being honest with your soul. It is only through recognition of your weaknesses that we begin a possible path of healing. I actually don't know of many men that tackle things head on or even are able to be honest with themselves about weaknesses. I continue to know myself better and better with each passing moment.

I spoke of self-sabotage this morning with a man I trust and respect, and he too has had experiences with it himself. After looking closer I am of the opinion that it has to do with self confidence or self-worth issues. Now these have been things that on the surface I have not felt or lack in my life, I think. Maybe a few times when I was ignorant of a job or task I was to perform, at least the confidence portion. So it is interesting to dig into some of my non-surface issues. Being conscious of these issues is something to be aware of, definitely. We all have them, it just may take some of us longer to notice. Maybe we choose not to see them. Maybe we get so wrapped up in our lives that our answer is, "I don't have time." Some would say that I am too open and by expressing these weaknesses, it makes me vulnerable. Oh well, it is not until we are honest with ourselves that we truly grow as humans. Honesty, even if it is unpleasant is the only way to begin, even if it leaves us vulnerable for all to see.

This blog probably comes across as a bit dramatic with my analyses'. I would have to say, I seem to over analyze myself and my situations a bit much. I really wanted to talk about my experience at the acupunturist. I have never been so I figured I would give it a try. I have had problems with my left knee, extremely bad gas for my whole life (not painful, just alot), and also wanted to incur about my body and the digestion of the nutrients I put in it. Is it working efficiently. I have heard that this guy, Clark, is amazing. He was very mild mannered, not alot of emotion, quiet, white male, in Gainesville. Soft spoken with a beard. So I filled out the form and prepped myself for needles and hopefully some of the magic he made happen with Rosemary and her amoebas. he pulled on my thumb and my index finger while I tried to hold them together while holding my hand on the right side of my stomach on my lats. He said a,b,c,d,e,g,i,j,k,l,n,o,q,s,u, and then asked me if I woke up in the night regularly, or had headaches. I pointed to my temples and replied, yes. I had also mentioned that even though I worked out and juiced daily and ran and was doing cardio daily, I was still not aining a little around my waist and lower back. I was watching my sugar in-take etc... Anyway, he said that he thinks that I might have the beginning of stones building in my galbladder. He said that the bile that is produced might be backing up and not digesting the fats and protiens that I have been eatting. He mentioned that the heat that builds in my gallbladder at night might cause me to not sleep as well and wake up on a regular basis. My temples are the galbladder meridians, therefor I have the headaches there. The weight gain could also be caused my decreased levels of bile. The gas as well. He asked if I knew my blood type and mentioned he probably tought I was Type O and that I should seriously consider eatting a diet that is proven to work well with type O's. He said that I might be putting the wrong items into my system causing me issues all together. I had heard of the diet that is based off of blood type, but not considered it until he spoke further and I read some info online. It effects what you eat, how you deal with stress and how you quit possibly should live your lifestyle in certain macro-ways. He gave me some Chinese herbs that will break up the stones forming in my gallbladder taken daily. So I purchased these books titled "Eat Right 4 Your Blood Type", "Live Right 4 Your Blood Type", and "Cook Right 4 Your Blood Type." I am going to give blood in the next week or so to confirm his idea that i am a type O. I can't wait to look deeper at what my diet should be based on my blood type. I would assume that I am a type O. Based off of the evidence I have seen of his work, he is right on with his diagnoses'. We'll have to wait and see what my diet changes to in the next few weeks. I currently juice about every vegetable there is as well as fruits, daily. I couple that with protein shakes and usually a meal of vegetables and fish. I look forward to learning what protein s are best for my body and what plants to eat, etc. I am not sure about the "Live Right 4 Your Type," but we'll see.

Just another path to take to see or look closer at areas about myself. I was definitely not expecting the blood type diet and gallbladder blockage. I trust his word, it surely can't hurt. He said he once told a vegetarian who was having problems losing weight to eat red meat. Her body needed that specific protein, even though she thought being vegetarian was the healthiest for her. She began to eat red meat and base her diet off of blood type, 2 months passed and she had lost 30 lbs... Not that my goal is to lose 30 lbs., but the goal is to better align my diet with my body chemistry. Hopefully my as will subside. It is possible that I have been eating incorrectly my whole life he said....bringing gas. Enzymes, bile, proteins and fats, and sugars. My appologies if the fact that I brought up gas makes anyone reading uncomfortable. So, we'll see.

I am currently reading a book by Michael Reynolds titled "A Coming of Wizards." This is the architect/designer and founder of Earthship Biotecture and a renegade for off the grid living around the world, based out of Taos, NM. Kick ass guy with an attitude. Just watch "Garbage Warrior" and form your own opinion. I have a few other books too discussing spirituality and growth spiritually centering around the ways of the Lakota Indians. I am actually currently involved with a circle of men and one of our pillars is spiritual growth specifically centering around the Lakota ways.

We have a 6 hour drive tomorrow. Santa Rosa Beach, here we come. It is Spring Break and Rosemary is the henna queen. Wish us success again this year.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


If you read this blog, you probably know that I tend to confront issues head on with myself, by myself, writing without comments from others. I find that expressing emotions or feelings or thoughts in writing helps me. It is too much for some to read from what I have been told. It is honest, it is me, not you. Maybe, just maybe, you think about the subjects I write about in your own way.

Maybe it is just me, at least this is what I hear in my head sometimes, but I think I am not alone with the subject of self-sabotage. I think we all do it or have done it or will do it, even if we don't know we are doing it. So, I quit drinking alcohol because as some say, "I can't handle my liquor." In my case it was wine or beer or whatever. I have quit smoking cigarettes many times, sometime for years. I have felt as though I should quit smoking marijuana, but have yet to stop completely. I quit hanging out with so many friends I grew up with, but this began the day I graduated high school. I have quite a lot of things over the years. I guess my point is that I am beginning to experience patterns of stopping and starting something. I am not sure why I do this. For example, I quit smoking cigarettes which gave me the best feeling ever, a feeling like I had climbed to highest mountain in the world. Addiction is a tough one to beat, but stopping smoking gave me a sense of accomplishment that I had not ever felt. So why do I start back every so often? Self-Sabotage! I recently began working out in the gym again while in town coupling it with juicing and a mostly vegetarian diet coupled with protein shakes. What a feeling this gave me!! After about a month or so, I began to get lazy and one day recently I chose to smoke a cigarette, a week later I had a pack, a week later I was not going to the gym as much or juicing as much. I find that every so often I sabotage myself, especially when i am doing everything great and succeeding. I did the same thing last Fall when I "fell off the wagon" and decided to start drinking alcohol in moderation. My point is that I find myself sabotaging myself without knowing it. I sabotage my successes when things are going well. Is this my way of putting a reality check on myself, a way of breaking me down and humanizing things? Is this how I make myself feel like I am accomplishing things? To set myself up for failure so that I can tackle it head on and feel as though I am once again accomplishing something? Do I do this because I get bored easily. Is this a form a attention deficit disorder? Is this what makes me feel good, breaking myself down in order to build myself back up? I think that we all do it in our own way. We self-sabotage ourselves. Some do it in order to get attention from others, in order to get the support they desire. I have seen it done especially with addiction issues. I personally do not understand completely why I do it to myself. I do not seek support from others, I just go into my head and ask more questions. I judge myself breaking myself down further. Do you do this to yourself, do you sometime inflame your weaknesses to test yourself. It is kind of sick to think about. Why would we harm ourselves in order to help ourselves. I could say the same thing about over-doing anything, it usually is not healthy. Is it the ADD that I mentioned? Do we get bored with our lives and spice it up by shaking things up? That seems to be my pattern in some ways, not a healthy pattern at all. Have you sabotaged yourself lately? Do you even think about things this way? I am starting to see my patterns much more clearly and quickly. I guess after all, i may not be as balanced as I thought, at least not in the past 2 weeks off and on.

I think that something we all must do more of is to give ourselves some room to wiggle. We are human, we do make mistakes, we are not perfect, and we do not always communicate effectively or treat ourselves, family or friends wonderfully. i tend to beat myself up more than anyone else does. I am my worst critic and my best critic. We should always allow for error and room to wiggle. Kind of like buying a sleeping bag that is one size bigger than we need, allowing room to role over and not feel so claustrophobic. Accepting our imperfections is very important, knowing our weaknesses and strengths, setting limits and boundaries while allowing ourselves room to go outside of boundaries if needed. not taking life too seriously. Learning to laugh more, something I don't do enough. I find that giving compliments helps me to get out of my funk. When I feel a little stressed, depressed or down, it always helps to find the energy to give someone else a compliment. Tell a loved one you are proud of them. Do you hear it enough? If the answer is no, then start by telling someone else how proud you are of them, but mean it. Doesn't it feel good to know that someone is proud of you? A message to myself "Be proud of yourself and your accomplishments and try not to self-sabotage yourself. Focus on wiggle room. Room for error and when you make mistakes, try not to take it so seriously or beat yourself up. At the end of the day you can laugh about it and then tell yourself how proud you are for recognizing imperfections." Or maybe I could just chalk it up to, I don't feel like working-out today....I'm complete.....

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A lighter load

So it is time again to prepare for festival season. Springfest, LEAF, Inman Park, and more...We will soon be on the road again. This past weekend I changed my oil, the transmission fluid, rear differential fluid, spark plugs, brake pads, all 4 shocks and wired the tail light located on the camper top. Roof rack on the camper top will carry a thule cargo box along with my mountain bike. I am ready to hit the road this year with a little less to carry. I like the thought of camping out in the back of the pickup, LED lights, a laptop, and some good books... no hookups, no F350 with injector problems, and definitely no trailer to pull. I love these little 4 cylinder engines. It is what I grew up driving in high school and even college. I guess it took having alot to realize that I really needed very little. So this truck gets about 10 miles to every dollar of fuel. I have wired my iphone directly into the auxilary port of the stereo which allows audiobooks and podcasts to play endlessly. My favorites podcasts are This American Life, Fresh Air, and Bill Moyer's journal. I am an Ira Glass addict. So....needless to say, I am ready to hit the road again. I have added a few spots of interest this year. Taos, NM, Idaho, the Dakotas, Wyoming, Montana, Utah again, Colorado and Kansas to visit my sister. I get excited just thinking about these trips, camping in the bed of the truck, anywhere I am able, mostly for free. A new friend/mentor of mine has a ton of knowledge about hiking, biking, climbing and everything out in Wyoming, so I plan on picking his brain. This will be the year of simple traveling with a hit of Earthship Biotecture and if I am lucky, a trip with friends to attend a Lakota Sundance ceremony.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

One year ago

Lots of goodness is going on these days. Rose is working on a huge costume for the National Black Arts Festival and will be doing henna tattoos at a belly dancing convention this weekend. I have been very busy selling everything from furniture to insulation jobs. Money is coming in and I feel rich with only a few hundred dollars in my bank account. I am beginning to realize that while I have never been as low on money as recently, I have also never been as happy. In a few weeks we will be headed to the beach for Spring Break!! I cannot believe that one more year has passed. It was just about one year ago now that I was finishing the restoration of our 1964 Airstream Globetrotter. We took it last year to Spring Break for the maiden voyage. So this year we will once again be in Santa Rosa and Rosemary will be doing henna tattoos and face painting. We will not be with the Airstream this year, rather camping at Grayton Beach State Park. It is so crazy to have these kinds of events to measure time. One year ago now, I was doing everything in my ability to separate from my old business partner. It was quite a leap of faith for me to take a year off from work, to focus on passion rather than just another job. I guess what it really comes down to is priorities and responsibilities. Most importantly, I have learned to be at peace, while being still for extended periods of time. The "still" I am speaking of is not one of sitting in a meditative position or not talking, rather just being at peace and accepting my current position, even if it is uncomfortable. It took me about nine months and an around the country road-trip to slow down. What a year. You know, I guess we can look at every day as New Years day....Oh, and I will just go ahead and throw this out, Rosemary and I are contemplating a land purchase in Tennessee. We are unsure if this will become actuality, but we would like to own land outside of Chattanooga in order to build an earthship. We have some friends of Earthship Biotecture out of Taos, NM that are offering land for $1,100 per acre, wooded, with water, northwest of Chattanooga. 10 to 20 acres would be nice. We'll see, we still have alot of other dreams that have yet to come true before we can seriously consider anything. Belief in outcome as my sister preaches, Belief in outcome. The whole land thing may not take place for a year or so, but we see it in our future without a doubt. I guess I should add that I also see some chickens, a rooster or two, two goats and Rosemary wants a horse....One year ago I saw my Dad and Mom split up and now I see them together happier than ever. My little sister Katie was remarried this year and relocated to Kansas. A friend committed suicide this past year. We lost our beloved Athena this past year. Happy New Year everyone, tomorrow is the beginning of a new year, depending on how you look at it. I'm ready for Spring Break at Grayton Beach, stand-up paddle boarding, flying kites, and enjoying the white sand beaches with painted faces and henna tattoos.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Carnival 2010

So we hit the road again to do something rosemary has wanted to do for over a year. Return to her old home turf of New Orleans. She received a nice size order from an old client of hers for a costume which provided a perfect chance to have good time, all expenses paid. We love it. The costume was finished and Rose also made some masks for she and I to wear. It was nice to leave the dogs at home and for she and I to really vacate. On Monday, Lundi Gras sp??, we got out early and walked the french quarter, the mask market, and took a peak at her old workspace, Jackson Square. It was really a time for Rosemary to gain some closure to her abrupt exit after hurricane Katrina. We visited her old house on the edge of the Marigne sp?? Mardi Gras day we got down to the french quarter early, in costume, and prepared for a day I will never forget. We marched in St Anns parade which was made up of all the locals. It blew me away at the amount of creativity that was present. Everyone was in cosume, everyone. Not just any costume either, these were very elaborate costumes and brass bands. I can honestly say that I have never experienced anything quite like it. The costumes, the energy, the music, the colors and smiles on people's faces. Everyone was having the time of their life. So many of the people Rosemary did business with recognized her, wondering if she was coming back to stay. By the end of the day we were exhausted and ended up hanging out on a balcony that belonged to a friend of hers. I can now say that I did Mardi Gras not as a tourist. What a pleasure it was to meet her friends Tanner and Vic and the many others during the parade and festivities. We drove to see the lower 9th ward as well as visited a place called "the tree house." It is an old mansion that is now an artist community/room house. In the back yard they built an elaborate tree house that includes everything from a spiral staircase, rope bridge, slides, and tree-top outlooks with a pool below to fall into if you choose certain slides. Kind of cool to see this going on. The lower 9th ward consists of slabs of concrete, weeds and about 15 very modern homes with solar panels and new landscaping. I can't really say much about the progress of the city since Katrina. Now that the Saints won the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras continues, maybe the "Who Dat" nation will begin to rise again. It was a great visit.

I'll be headed to Ponte Vedra Beach on Saturday for work. Well, not really work, but I am being paid well to deliver an Airstream which I have somewhat repaired/restored. This is the same Airstream we recovered from the mountains last year, about this time, I think.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Opinions part 2

I guess what really needs to be thought of is this,...when I speak, am I speaking simply to validate my opinions and beliefs and what I believe to be true, to me.??? Am I writting this blog to validate myself, do I respond to others with my beliefs and opinions simply to validate me? Is this what we all do when we give our opinions? I am not saying that it is not good to have our opinions or to feel strongly about a cause or subject matter, rather I am expressing my feeling that all of us could possibly go around this world and speak less, forcing us to stop oppressing others with our views. That really is what we do when we express our opinions without being asked to do so, correct? That may be a little harsh, but I guess with my examination lately of communicating, I am moving forward with my action of not expressing my opinions without being requested to do so from another person. I need to listen to others. I can't tell you how often I am thinking aimlessly while in conversation with anyone. I am going am going to listen more and avoid the validation process of oppressing others with my opinions unless requested to do so. Sounds good. Ummmm............Breath in.............Breath out..................Breath in..........Smile.................Open eyes................Feels good. Validation usually does go with oppression.

I need to come back to my writting this blog in the first place. I tend to think that this is simply a way to express myself and my validation usually comes from my actions, not expressions.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Opinions - a side project

Do you ever just get tired of people's opinions? I think that if we all would just not talk for one full day, every two weeks, we would begin to see just how little we actually need to say in the first place. Rosemary and I began this a few weeks ago, we did not speak for the whole day, spent it in silence. I was faced with a situation today where someone said spoke their opinion and in no way at all was their opinion needed nor was it asked for. It did nothing positive for a situation. It was simply so that they could say, "I have a right to my opinion", so they could feel good that they shared their mind. So often I wonder if this is exactly what this blog is all about, is it just me venting and getting off my mind what I am thinking. The same as anyone else who speaks their mind. Maybe it was just that I allowed myself to be a target, or that I took what they said personally. I'm allowed to do that as much as they are allowed to speak their opinion. I uess being brutally honest is good, but it is not necessarily the best way to get your point across. And just because it is your opinion and you are entitled to it, doesn't mean that anyone else in your presence has asked for it. But, if it makes you feel any better, then go ahead and spout off your opinion, no matter how it makes others react.....I have been there, I am guilty, I tell people what i think all of the time. All of the time. I found myself reacting to this persons opinion by spouting off my opinion of them, it was kind of nice to immediately see the lesson. It is nice to see these lessons sooner and sooner. I found myself looking in the mirror immediately and taking notes about my own actions...So thanks for your opinions, but no thanks. I think it is time for a silent day...Maybe it is just me, but sometimes I could care less about what anyone has to say.....Did I ask for your opinion, or do you just feel the need to expel yourself into my world of reasoning...When I need your opinion I will ask....And I will do the same to everyone else, starting now....I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Continuing Education 2010

I have now finished all 3 books written by Michael Reynolds, Earthship vols. 1 - 3. I am left wondering why is this concept is not being taught or used for habitat for humanity homes. I am so excited to educate myself about something I can use, something I can see happening, something that is liberating and so available. After coming from a construction background for part of my life, I enjoy the detail and simplicity of his work and ideas. Vol 1 details the main construction of the interior and exterior walls, the roof, the front portion of windows, and much more of the main structural parts of the Earthship. Vol. 2 details the different systems employed such as water systems, solar power systems, landscaping, fireplaces, bathrooms, etc. Vol. 3 describes the vision much further describing communities and just how the Earthship concept can work on larger scales. I love that these books are not limiting, rather they share all information and materials needed and where to buy the materials. The books don't leave you wondering how to get the supplies, he shares his sources with you and even gives their phone numbers and addresses. Granted, these may be out-of-date, but they can more than likely provide you with updated sources from a phone call. I simply can't wait to be a part of this type of work. Right now the Earthship team is headed to Todo Santos, Baja Mexico to build what they call their Global Model over the next 8 weeks. http://www.earthship.net/mexico-news/680-todos-santos-earthship-project-february-2010.html

I am not really sure what to expect with this exploration of mine. My gutt is telling me that if I stay true to myself, it will work out wonderfully. At this point, I am simply ready to get back to work doing something. This Winter season has been nice and relaxing, but I am ready to begin to build things, to learn how solar systems are installed, grey water systems are utilized in-doors, and all that goes along with building an Earthship. "Pockets of Freedom" they call the areas where people around the US are building. Wouldn't it be great to see solar panels on the White House?? Wouldn't it be cool to have Habitat for Humanity bein to use the Earthship concept where it is realistic. Is it that we are so caught up in the hamster wheel that we run and run without knowing that such techniques are being used. The energy bills for a normal sized earthship in moderate conditions can be around $40 per YEAR....

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Guatemala pictures 2010

Guatemala January 2010

So Rosemary and I made our first trip of the year to Guatemala. As I have mentioned previously, we were so in love with Lake Atitlan, that we were seriously considering trying to purchase property. It was so nice to see the lake during the dry season. It was not quite as green as it was last June, but still quite nice. We spent a night in Antigua and the following day we rode up to the lake and headed to San Marcos la Laguna. It is a quaint little village of hostels, holistic healing centers, dirt paths and what I would consider very relaxed new agey village. The locals have their parts in running things such as the girl who is the bread girl, the vegetable salesman, and the travelers selling their products along the paths hoping to make enough to get to their next destination. Many people come to San Marcos to take some kind of training in Reiki, acupuncture, massage, meditation, crystal energy work, etc....We think that the best place to stay in town is Posada Schumann. They have the best mattresses and very nicely built rooms with stone walls and upper and lower patios. My favorite thing is Norma and the attitude she throws to the customers. All she needs is a little flirtation and then she smiles and continues to throw smart ass comments flirtatiously back...She reminds me of he tortilla lady in Guinope, Honduras. Anyway.....We spent most of our time exploring the lake, hanging with the locals and asking alot of questions regarding the health of the lake. We had heard that the grey-water and black-water they are putting directly in the lake and full of phosphates that are promoting plant growth and algea was a major problem last year. I had already been concerned with the pollution bein put into the lake and how it will affect things. We hiked from San Marcos through Tzunana directly up a cliff for a mile or two to the tops of the mountains surrounding the lake. Next we walked above Jaibalito and Santa Cruz all the way to Solola. Solola has the best market that contained indigenous products consisting mainly of textiles and vegetables and paintings and just about any staple item we have here. The hike to Solola brought some of the most amazing overlooks I have ever seen. We walked through small villages and met the locals along the way which was one of Rosemary's goals. We explored San Pedro la Laguna as well as Panajachel. It was beautiful every day and we took advantage of it. Some of our favorite times were taking the tuk-tuk from San Pedro through San Pablo and ultimately ending back up in San Marcos as the sun was going down. In the evening the schools are getting out, the communities lite up with people and children playing in the street. The Mayans seem to be happy and pleased with their traditions and current situations. there des not seem to be much alcoholism in the communities surrounding the lake which was nice. Or maybe it is just that they keep the troubled people out of view, could be the case.

On one of the days, we took part in a cacao ceremony. It was basically a meditative session that lasted for 3 hours. the cacao is locally grown and is said to have been used in ceremony long ago before they started to use alcohol so much. We drank pure cacao mixed with pure brown cane sugar and chili sauce for spice. The cacao shaman then led us through the meditation on a large deck overlooking the lake in the trees. It was new for me, but there were obviously some people there who were healers and were specifically in the area to learn more healing techniques. It was a special gathering. Keith, the leader of ceremony, was definitely someone I connected with a little more than some of the people I had met in town. He was "out there", but then again, so am I at times. he was so full of passion and loved what he was sharing and serving and passing on within ceremony. The cacao actually did give me a buzz and during the meditation, I felt as if I were floating for a short period of time. Kind of like when you are on your way to sleep.....I was in that in-between state and maintaining that place for probably 5-10 minutes. It was nice and the surroundings were absolutely stunning.

So this time we were not so overflowing with excitement about the idea of living in such a far away place that we enjoy. We were noticing the reality of the country and some issues that we felt were not in our best interest yet. Deforestation, pollution, insecurity, and the health of the environment all due to the way they are dealing with poverty and pollution. It was sad to see whole mountainsides of pines being clear cut and nothing being planted in place. Deforestation is a major problem. Cutting down but not planting. There were alot of concerns I had in terms of investing money and they way the land is being treated. It is just not in our best interest to invest there, atleast not now.

I am so greatful for what we have here, the security we are given, the laws we have in place to protect us, and the cleanliness of the air and streets, and much more that we often take for granted or complain about her. Law enforcement is something we complain about alot of the time, but it is something I am thankful for. You don't know what you have until it is gone and that is something I love... I always appreciate the USA much better after a trip abroad.

So we made it home and immediately are shipping costumes, finishing costumes, and preparing for a quick trip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, to deliver a costume, collect a check, and march in a few parades in costume.....what fun it is to have a girlfriend who knows how things run in New Orleans.

It is so nice to be home, I love the United States of America!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Life is what you make of it

I have taken a break from writing in order to refocus what my intentions are with this blog. It seems as though in the past I have used it to vent and to express my inner thoughts and situations. It really can be used for whatever I want it to be used for, but mainly I want it to shed light on places and experiences that we love.

From where I stand, I can see a ton of good things ahead for both Rose and myself. I am sure that I have never been in such a loving, balanced, supportive, healthy, and peaceful relationship in my life. It is just so nice to be supported by those that love you, even when it might not be the norm. We have simplified our lives so much to the point that it is kind of self-sustaining. I have nothing to say except "you are correct", when others say "It must be nice." The bottom-line is that yes, it is VERY nice. "I wish the same for you", I conclude.

My role this year will once again be a non-traditional role when compared to 95% of American households. It is growing on me to be honest, I enjoy being a partner to Rosemary, helping her grow her business, her errand boy I should say. I am quit surprised at what we are accomplishing together, actually what I help her accomplish. She is doing 90% of the work with my opinions and advice. One of my roles will be to learn how to build 100% self sustainable housing for us. While we are low on cash, it is still a blast to be this free. Freedom to be whatever I want to be without justification to anyone but myself and my family (Rosemary, Katie and Marley).

Rosemary and I are both wishing the best to all of our friends and our families and are looking forward to sharing our experiences with everyone. Thanks to everyone that supports our non-traditional lifestyle of pleasure and passion. It certainly is unfortunate that pleasure and passion are considered non-traditional to some...Shouldn't we all seek to fill our lives with passion? We are.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

On the road again.....GUATEMALA 2010

In a few days Rosemary and I will be headed back to Guatemala. We are so excited. We will be spending 9 days in and around Lago Atitlan. It is Summer and in the 80's there. I am sure we will be doing some cliff diving and swimming, volcano hiking, tree-top jungle tours, and possibly bathing in a hot spring. Last time we journeyed there, we spent only 2 nights at the lake, then traveled to the Peten region, Belize, and then back to Guatemala City in 10 days. I remember there being 100's, literally, of humming birds flying everywhere, right past your head. The clouds seemed to float lower than the peaks of the mountain tops. The north side, south facing cliffs were covered in lush vegetation and reminded me of terrain I imagine in Asia. It is simply hard to explain how beautiful this place is in my mind.

Upon arrival, we will be staying in Antigua for one evening. Rosemary has set up a dinner date with Jose Coutino, a daykeeper of the Mayan Calendar. Rosemary is interested in learning more about the way he views certain aspects of the 2012 changing of the calendar. It will be interesting to pick his brain and listen to his views and opinions.

The following day we will go to Lago Atitlan and make our way to the hidden paradise of San Marcos la Laguna. This is just the beginning of a great trip.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

What are you doing with yourself Andy???

I am not sure if I mentioned previously, both of the houses that I own are up for sale. My primary residence is under contract and my rental property is still not under contract. Both are short-sells which take alot of time. Some good news is that my primary residence has been under contract for almost 90 days. Yesterday a mortgage broker came by to establish what the house price should be based off of the conditions in my neighborhood otherwise known as comps. I could not believe that homes were selling for $12K and $15K!!! Since I am ready to get my primary residence sold, I was worried about the price of $21K being too low, but he seemed to think that the price was good. This is really good news. So he submitted his opinion to the bank, and I am one step closer to being out from under this mortgage.....I think I have an interested party in the rental house. We'll see

On another front, I have been digging deep into the goals and dreams that I have set for this year. Yesterday I received notice of an opportunity to join Michael Reynolds and Earthship Biotecture in the construction of an Earthship in Wyoming during the last week of April and first week of May. My calendar is beginning to fill up!!!!! I was wishing for an opportunity and it has presented itself. We will learn how to lay out the building, pound tires, install cisterns and thermal wrap, build interior buttresses, start pack out on tire walls, form and pour the bond beam, basically all the steps to get an Earthship project ready to put a roof on it. I could not be more excited than I am right now. My goal would be to get involved and if I like it, to become part of a team that travels all around constructing Earthships. There is a large project getting started in the Galapagos Islands that would be nice to dig into...The goal of course as previously mentioned would be to own land possibly in Guatemala on Lake Atitlan and to construct our own Earthship. It is only a matter of time.....How cool would it be to travel around the world building Earthships. This year alone their builders are traveling to Baja Mexico in February, Swaziland Africa in May, Pataonia, Uganda and Norway this Summer, and The Galapagos is ongoing. What a job that would be, to build and become a master at building 99% self-sustaining housing with people from around the world. We'll see....

So this is what I am doing today. The Earthship opportunity presented itself this morning and I am now on the list of interns for the Wyoming 2010 Earthship build. I have never been to Wyoming, but from the pictures, it looks like a beautiful place to spend 2 weeks in the Spring. I will more than likely stop by and visit with Katie, Xander and Josh on my way out. We'll see, I don't want to get ahead of myself....I think? I am also looking forward to not towing the Airstream and not having my dogs with me. We'll just have to wait and see...I look forward to seeing what else takes place between now and then, what else decides to jump into my path along the way.

In February, Rosemary and I will be going to Mardi Gras for 2 days. NOLA is her old stomping grounds and she will be returning during her favorite time. We will both be in costume. She actually is hand delivering a $500 costume she is making for an old client of hers. She is making it. This evening she was involved in an event at the W Hotel for a new high profile client, the Maverick Group. She is making 4 costumes for them in late February and before you know it we will be traveling to festivals. Life is definitely treating us well these days.

"Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions." - Einstein

Monday, January 11, 2010

2010 has begun

So....what is really going on these days in my world. The holidays are gone, January is now upon us and it is cold here in Atlanta. So I have been at the table lately, over the past 4 months, jotting down ideas about what I am going to do with my life. Sometimes I have even been verbally assaulted with this question....Maybe that is a bit much, but each time someone asks me what I am doing now, or where I want to see myself in 10 years, or whatever it may be, it allows me to reconsider what it is that I am actually doing. Where it is that I actually want to go...Where do I want to be in 2020? Most of my friends will have 9 and 14 and 15 or olds, Marley will be gone and Rose will be 46 and I will be 44. Now I know this is not answering the question, but it is nice to ponder the answers to these questions.

For the past 4 months I have been back in Atlanta, off the road, and in my home, I have slowed down quit a bit. I am no longer anxious from not holding a job title somewhere.....I have begun to actually believe that we will be taken care of no matter what happens. This is something Rosemary has said to me from day one. I have actually known what it is like to have a real partner in life, or felt it in a different way than previously thought. I pick up work here and there and have learned to live off of maybe 50 per week spending and the bills we share. I am not looking for work but have spent a large part of my time dreaming about what I want to do. I have studied lock smithing, and purchased the tools. I am in the middle of repairing my old friend Jeff Langford's airstream. I sleep in...I have mulched my flower beds with 6 inches of fresh wood-chips. I have worked for a very long time to get into the position I am in and am just now having fun getting myself out of it again.

I guess I have been spending my time figuring out what my next move is going to be and I think I am on the verge of moving in the direction of something big. What is the next move????? My next project? I think my next move will be in the direction of building sustainable housing around the world using the concepts developed my Michael Reynolds and Earthship Biotecture. Both Rosemary and I both want one for ourselves and we think it will go well in Guatemala. We'll see, but we are visualizing a land purchase to take place in the next year or so and then we begin the building of our very own Earthship. So......for the next year or so we will not only be involved with festivals around the country, but also I will more than likely be traveling to hep build Earthships. The experience will serve us well when we begin construction of our own. Now I know this is kind of out of the ordinary compared to the average North American, but I am coming to realize that I enjoy living the life of the not-so-average North American. So this is the latest and greatest idea and goal that Rosemary and I are setting for our year 2010. I can see so many wonderful things happening this year. Check out the website www.earthship.net or go to your local library and rent "Garbage Warrior" http://www.garbagewarrior.com/trailer.html

We'll see. Next week Rose and I are back on the road to Guatemala to visit Lake Atitlan for 8 days. This is the beginning of a big year for us. Enjoy our travels with us by following this blog. I can't wait to get to the Lake and explore. We only were there for a few days last June, so this time we can visit some of the other towns around the lake, hike new volcanoes, and of course, do the zip-line jungle tour. The lake is seriously one of the most beautiful places that I have ever visited. It is indigenous in so many ways, something you don't get anywhere here in the US. Needless to say, I am looking forward to arriving to Lake Atitlan once again.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Happy New Year and Decade

Wow, what a trip it is going into the new year thinking about last years and all the years before. I just turned 34 and don't feel like I am in my mid-thirties. Time has flown past us so quickly....34....2010....There is so much going on..

So for the past 4 months Rose and I have been here in Atlanta, not traveling. November - February are usually the slow months for Rose. Every since I quit my job back in May, I have simply not been looking for work, but thinking alot about it. What a blessing it is to be able to not work and not be judged by your spouse/partner, rather motivated to take some more time. I thought about starting my own mobil lock-smithing business and also bought the tools to re-key houses. I've mainly reached a point of comfort with where I am, and don't feel the anxiety I felt previously, when not working. I have been filling my schedule with activities that include bird watching, gym (weights and cardio), walks in the woods with Rose, learning to shoot my pistol at a target, building a compost pile, studying Earthship Biostructure by Michael Richards in Taos NM, trying to sell a rental property of mine and trying to sell my primary residence in a short-sale. It is kind of like staying home with your kids or sending them to daycare, sometimes it is less costly to stay at home. I am becoming so much ore comfortable with my position in life and where I am with everything. It has taken some time to slow down enough to breath more deeply and to listen more and to speak less.....

Since we have returned to Atlanta, Athena passed peacefully, Katie and Marley are hibernating for the winter, I began smoking and quit again, and am back on the path of being in the best shape of my life. These days, compared to last time this year, I feel like mentally I am more stable and more connected with my intuitions, my gutt, my soul. I am feeling like most everything I wish for happens in time and is happening. It is a definite eye opener to watch life taking place. I have also simplified life a little more by downsizing forcably to a smaller truck/vehicle.

I wrecked my Ford F350 into a utility pole, totaled it, used the settlement to downsize to a Nissan Frontier, and pocketed the leftovers. The Airstream will sit until we have a tow vehicle we can afford and that runs good.

I completed my 2008 taxes and am ready to file my 2009 taxes as soon as the paperwork comes from my mortgage companies. No more procrastinating!!!

Rosemary is kicking ass. She and I developed a henna tattoo DIY kit this winter and are selling it on Etsy.com. She has been landing custom costumes for people around the US and around the world. Private body painting events are taking place just about every weekend, and she has begun to work with a large Marketing Firm, The Maverick group. Lots of work!!!!! In the Spring we will be doing festivals, Summer in LA again she thinks, and Fall back doing festivals until October. I am really excited about all of the opportunities that she is coming into.

I am studying Earthship Biostructure's and might possibly be interning in Taos New Mexico for the month of June. These are structures that are basically off-the-grid. Check them out at www.earthship.net

So Rose was just gifted some money and wants to go to Guatemala in a few weeks before her schedule fills for the year. We want to explore Lake Atitlan much more than earlier this year. We have heard about hot springs and hope to find them be sufficient enough to bath in. Another volcano hike would be nice, some swimming, cliff diving, zip lines, Mayan ceremonial sites. We want to spend the whole trip at Lake Atitlan this time.

So 2010 is going to be a great year or adventure and endless opportunities to go in any direction at any time, I believe. Katie and Josh and Xander, Ethan and Emily and Rosemary and I, all spent a good portion of time this year involved with my Mom and Dad's situation, and that too has seemed to come back together. I am so pleased and wish them the best years together full of travel, love, partnership, and most of all Passion for Life. I wish this for all friends and family. Rose and I are going to continue down the road of life and look forward to sharing it with all of you, even if we don't send christmas cards.