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!!