November: NaNoWriMo + NaWeATTMo*

*National Novel Writing Month + National Weave All The Things Month

November!

Is the day after tomorrow!

All! The! Exclamation! Points!

Wow. November is going to be an exciting month. Blue Genie Art Bazaar begins, which means I have several personal deadlines for creating things. I currently have 31 Hound scarves, and 9 Lux scarves. I’d like to bulk that up a bit to 40-ish Hounds. And now I’m adding a new product that I am incredibly excited about. More later when I actually have something to show! You can follow along on my shop Instagram. Oh and now is a good time to mention that I will be, as usual, telling you all exactly how much money I make at Blue Genie. I feel like this sort of info and honesty is sorely missing from the crafting/art communities, so I like to do my part to change all of that.

How do I suddenly have all the energy for all the things? I don’t. Not really. I’ve just decided to push myself a little bit more. The last few months I’ve accidentally been doing too little, which has made me lose stamina, which has made me even more tired. So I’m trying to push back very gently. In addition to that, I might have found a solution for improving my endometriosis. It’s early days yet but I will write about it in time. I’m getting all the proverbial ducks in a row on that, so that’s a bit of a side project.

It’s nice, after being so sick for so long, to have a little hope. I’ve been carefully re-filling my days with things that need doing, trying to bridge that line between not exhausting myself and still finding fulfillment. This has come about through copious list-making, and just doing a little bit at a time on a lot of different things. I even knit an entire sweater in under two weeks! Yes, me. The queen of putting things off until they are perfect. This project has been a purposeful exercise in just fucking doing it and not stopping until it’s done. It’s been very good for me. I improvised the whole pattern. I didn’t frog anything. Not even once! I just went with it.

Now please enjoy a photo of that project in which I appear as a Dr. Seuss character (Casey: “You look very…long in this photo.” Ha! I do.). I haven’t blocked it yet, so the stitches are a little wonky. EMBRACING IMPERFECTION-ISM and just posting it anyway.

Knitted Rainbow Sweater

IN ADDITION to Blue Genie, dealing with my endometriosis, my part-time job, the tiny house, and just general life-stuff, I am excited to say I am doing NaNoWriMo for the first time! I blame my online soul sister Jessica (in a good way). Truth is, I’ve already begun two novels this year (my first ever), and I have a good plan for both of them. I was diligently working on them in July, but I let perfectionism get in my way, so I stopped working on them. Being a part of the NaNoWriMo community as well as having a friend for accountability (the aforementioned Jessica) seems like just the ticket to getting me back on track. I don’t know if it’s technically “allowed” to just keep working on a novel you’ve already started, but I gave up on rules a long time ago, so I don’t care. I’ll be picking one of them and working through the month of November to finish it. I think I only have 10k words so far on it anyway. That’s not nothing, but it’s also little enough that it will be quite enough to be getting on with for the month of November.

So, to recap: weave everything including a brand new product, get a booth setup together for Blue Genie, setup Blue Genie, closely monitor my health, support Casey with tiny house stuff, write a novel, and don’t forget the laundry.

This should be fun.

Posted in endometriosis, i made this, jack friday, knitting, weaving | 4 Comments

Tiny House Update: 24 October 2014.

Okay okay!

So much has happened over the last two months. We sat down, made a huge list of everything that needed doing, and then set to do it. Well, mostly Casey, but I’m support staff.

We hired someone to clear the land, put down a driveway and level the pad where the tiny house will sit. THIS WAS THE GREATEST DECISION WE HAVE EVER MADE. Ever. Ever. Four days of someone else working hard? Yes. Thank you. Four days of someone else with a Bobcat? Yes. Thanks. Go ahead. This would have taken us literal months on our own. Four days!

Things that have been done since my last update:

1) Land cleared: trees trimmed, ditch dug. (Hired out; Casey)

2) Power line from pole to cabin installed: proper gauge wire, conduit, etc. All courtesy of Casey.

3) Driveway pad! With pavers! For our car. (Hired out)

4) Tiny house pad! With crushed cement. (Hired out)

5) Garden space cleared!!! This is unexpected and entirely exciting. I can start to bring in organic material and build up the beds. (Hired out)

And drumroll please…

6) OUR HOUSE IS MOVED!! On our land! It has been moved to the land. By Casey, like a boss. I cried. I laughed! I freaked out. I have seriously been dreading this day since July 2012 when the flatbed trailer arrived. Casey took care of it all: renting the proper truck, calling out support staff for maneuvering directions, etc.

What’s weird is how different the house looks from far away. It’s been parked next to a shed on one side and a fence on the other this whole time, so pulling it out of that tight space…I literally thought “Whose house is that? That looks AMAZING!” I didn’t recognize it. I’ve never seen the roof before! The roof, the gorgeous roof.

I had to work so I couldn’t see the house being parked. But when Casey showed me the photo of it sitting on our land, looking like a Photoshop rendering instead of something real, I broke down crying. Big, heavy tears.

This is big. This is momentous. We are so, so close to living in this thing. What’s next? Getting power turned back on at our property. Installing the AC. Plugging in the house. Mudding the drywall. Painting walls and ceiling. Install flooring. Build cabinets. Install appliances. Move in.

I’m lame and having computer issues so go to my instagram and Casey’s to check out photos.

Posted in our tiny house | 4 Comments

Holga Film Pictures from 2010.

(I’m continuing to post the results of my very first batch of film rolls. All the film was taking between 2010-2013, and I just now overcame my fear and had them developed. Now I’m sharing).

I bought my 35mm Holga (affiliate link) while I was working at Anthropologie. The store was trashed from Labor Day customers, it was late afternoon, and two girls walked in holding a brightly colored Holga. I asked them about it. They told me they had just purchased it at Urban Outfitters on sale. I spent 20 minutes of my precious dinner break that night running over to the other side of the mall. I found my Holga upstairs under a pile of Magic 8 balls. It was $30 on sale, minus my 40% Urban Outfitters employee discount (Urban owns Anthro).

It’s mostly been sitting in my closet collecting dust since. But I did use it in the weeks afterward, and promptly forgot all about it.

I have only one memory of taking these: I do recall pulling out my hot pink, plastic, 35mm Holga for a brief few moments during my very first Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, NM. A few days after I took these pictures Casey proposed to me in an Earthship. Great days.

The only information I had about the Holga was that the camera performed its best in bright, Sunny 16 exposure situations. That is definitely right.

All photos below on a 35 mm Holga with expired, off-brand, 35mm color film.

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Balloon Fiesta Holga 35mm

Posted in film, photography | 4 Comments

Bass Pro Shop

Here’s more from my first batch of film. These photos were a joy to discover. They made me laugh. They’re sort of like a really dark, creepy movie. Hannibal-esque.

Everything below was shot on a Mamiya Sekor DTL 1000 with a 55mm f 1.4 lens on off-brand, expired 35mm film.

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Posted in film, photography | 2 Comments

Blue Genie Art Bazaar 2014.

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Remember my weaving shop?

It’s sat a little dormant this year as I’ve focused on my health and getting back to simpler forms of earning money (in the form of an incredibly wonderful, flexible, part-time job). In late August, I received an email from Blue Genie Art Bazaar that applications were closing soon. After my Chicago Renegade experience last year, I knew that I wasn’t interested in doing any more shows where I had to schlep materials across the country and sit for two, ten-hour days praying that I might make some money and come out ahead.

But Blue Genie is different. It’s an Austin tradition, a show where each artist sets up what is essentially a little pop-up shop. Blue Genie provides the staffing and the registers; they take care of point of sale stuff. It runs for a month (November 28-December 24 this year), and each day is open for twelve full hours (10AM-10PM). All the artists have to do is set up their shop at the beginning of the show and check back in periodically to re-stock and tidy up their display.

I first heard about the show in December 2012 (far past the application date). I vowed to apply in 2013, which I did, despite knowing from other artists that it took them several years to get into the show. I applied, and didn’t make it. This year, I thought, “I have a ton of back-stock from last year’s extravaganza-weave-athon, and the worst I have to lose is $35 for the jury fee.” Spoiler alert: I probably wouldn’t be writing this post if I didn’t get in. And I did get in!

I was 99% certain I wouldn’t. But I did. I’m really glad I made the leap and I know it was the right decision to participate in this show. Who knows if I’ll make any money but it’s worth a shot. And this time around I’m going in with experience, low-expectations, and excitement instead of desperation. I’m already having fun designing my booth. I can’t wait to see how it all plays out. I will keep you posted!

The plan now is to go double-check my inventory. Unlike last year, where I wove my fingers off at the last minute, I plan on adding a few more scarves over the next few weeks but not killing myself trying to build up an enormous inventory. I may also add a few smaller products like notecards with pictures of my own woven cloth on them, just to have something small and easily reproducible to offer. The great news is that unlike previous years, I already have tags, branding, a website, hundreds of business cards, etc. I won’t be scrambling like I have in the past.

I’m also following my gut. Instead of blindly trying to add new products, trying to guess what people are interested in and frantically trying to make “sellable” things that anyone might want to buy, I’m sticking with what feels good to me. I know now that people either want my stuff or they don’t. Price doesn’t matter: if someone wants it, they’ll pay for it.

It’s nice to have some relaxed confidence.

Posted in craft fair advice, jack friday, small business, weaving | 2 Comments

My First Film Rolls.

Okay so for everyone who has been waiting for my first film rolls to be posted on here (all none of you)…apologies. I finally, finally FINALLY got up the nerve to get these rolls developed. It sounds so silly, but I wasn’t sure what was on half the rolls, and I was really embarrassed to have them developed.

Growing up many things came easily to me. Because of that, instilled within my brain was this idea that life was about just naturally being good at things, not working hard to be good at things. I’ve been working on overcoming that idea for the last few years. Film photography? I didn’t know what I was doing when I shot these. I’ve shot mostly on manual off and on for a couple of years on DSLRs, but with no confidence. I was always doing what Jonathan Canlas calls “chimping:” taking a shot, then checking the screen. I never saw what I liked when I shot people, so that’s why 99.99999% of my photographs are of not people.

Anyway, I finally shipped five rolls of 35mm film (one roll of 35mm Portra 400, the other four rolls off-brand expired 35mm) to Indie Film Lab. And the scans came in yesterday. There were rolls in there that I shot on my 35mm Holga (who knew?) as well as a really terrible roll from my Diana+ camera that I sold years ago (gee, even before getting the film developed for it apparently?) The other three were all taken with my grandfather’s Mamiya Sekor DTL 1000, a steel and glass masterpiece of a camera he purchased in 1968 or thereabouts. That camera has been all over the world.

Anyway shut up shut up and get to the pretty stuff. Because some of it was pretty! Most of it was mediocre. And some of it was stunning. Most of the good ones deserve their own sort of grouping in a photo essay, so I’ll do that later (I’m in bed with a head cold today and not up to doing much beyond this).

For now, though, I want to share these, because I was terrified of shooting people, even my husband. But then these came in (all of these are the cheap, basic scans with no post-processing from IFL).

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(Both of these shot on the Mamiya Sekor DTL 1000 + 55 mm 1.8 lens with expired 35mm film).

I’m not afraid any more. Film: you have my heart.

Posted in film, photography | 2 Comments

Tiny House Update!

(This draft was written August 25th, but I’m publishing it now anyway. Enjoy the late update!).

Two weeks ago I realized a big part of why I was discouraged at doing any work on the tiny house was this: even if we finished 100% of the house tomorrow, there is still a butt-load of work to be done on the land before we could move the tiny house TO the land.

Like:

-Dig up the power cord to the cabin and encase it in PVC, then re-bury it.

-Put an RV plug on the light pole.

-Weed whack the 2-foot-high grass.

-Move the rock fence to make room for the tiny house to come through.

-Level the ground where the tiny house will go.

-Move a tree (I’m like 99% sure it’s a mountain laurel, which is heartbreaking because mountain laurel are my absolute favorite, but we’ll plant another one if we can’t transplant it).

Then it hit me: we need to prep the land first. Then we can move the house. Somehow this makes me want to work on the tiny house again, knowing that the land is fully ready for us.

Another realization coincided with this thought: after the drywall is hung up and mudded, the flooring will go in. We were planning on doing this while the tiny house is still at our build site (my boss’ second driveway, bless their patience), but I realized that we can’t install hardwood floor in a non-AC house. The AC has to go in first. But we can’t put the AC in until we move the house to the land, because we need to plug the house into an RV plug, which is only located on our property (once we install it anyway).

A plan fell into place based off of these requirements, and while that may not sound like a big deal, I assure you, it is. It’s really hard to stay on task while building a tiny house, when all the decisions are totally up to you. Having parameters, even as simple as “Sorry folks, you can’t put the floor in until the AC is hooked up, and you can’t hook up the AC until it’s on the land.” And suddenly, we were back in business.

Weekend before last, we loaded up our car with garden tools stolen from my parents’ garage with big plans to simply weed whack the area above the line, “pull up” the old power line (rest assured, there is currently no power going to the property at all so we felt comfortable doing this), encase it in PVC, drop it back in the earth, and ta-da! All done.

On the drive up there, Casey decided he wanted to replace the power line entirely. Which is totally fine. And it went from “replacing would be a good thing to do” to, after digging it up, “holy crap, this old line is spliced and DUCT TAPED together underground, of COURSE we are replacing it.”

We weed whacked. Casey dug up the old janky line, and then decided to dig an 18″ deep and two foot wide, forty-foot long trench in rocky, South Texas “soil.” Loooong story short, we have now made three trips out to the property, one of which was with a friend who was the BIGGEST help ever, and now Casey is only two feet away from being finished with digging.

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Ah, all these tiny house projects. “Just dig a trench” seemed like a, oh, four to six hour project. Hahahaha!

HAHAHAHAHAHA.

I also mopped the nasty cabin floors. We’re probably going to gut the place anyway when it’s all said and done, especially since that’s the only way to know if the electrical wiring is duct taped in the walls, too. Eep.

Meanwhile, over at the tiny house…

My health is crap for at least 50% of the month, guaranteed, sometimes more than 50%, so I have to take advantage of my energy when I have it for use as I have had it this last week. So far I have used it to: weed whack a ton of the land, pick up garbage on the property, mop the nasty floors of the cabin, and trim a bunch of the trees there.

Then last Friday, I decided to wash the siding of the tiny house to prep it for painting.

Then I spent two hours in Lowe’s getting paint, painting supplies, stain for the wood siding on the porch, etc. Two hours! Two hours. For about a minute I was irritated at how long everything was taking and then I realized, “What else would I be doing today? This is the best use of my time, even if it takes awhile.” And it was. Because today, I was able to wake up and head out before it was oven-hot and I painted part of the house! I painted it!

This is literally the first time in the history of tiny tiny house where one of us managed to do eight hundred times more than we expected. I told myself when I woke up this morning that if all I could do today was just get putty in the nail holes on the lower half (non-ladder-half) of the house, then it would be a win. Well, I did that in about 30 minutes. And then I started painting. And painting. And painting. And then I really got the hang of it and four hours later, the house looked like this:

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There is no trim up yet on the corners but whatever. That’s easy to install and paint later. That’s Casey’s job.

This is where we stand with things that need doing in the next four weeks (deadline September 30th-ISH, gah, all this takes so much longer than we plan):

LAND

1) Finish digging the trench. Install new cable safely wrapped in PVC. Re-bury cable.

2) Install RV plug on property.

3) Have land-clearers come out and dig up tree, trim big branches, and level out a space for the tiny house.

TINY HOUSE

1) Finish painting exterior.

2) Run a few new tech-y wires in the walls. Finish hanging drywall and backer board.

3) Install porch ceiling. Stain it, ideally.

4) MOVE IT. Find a truck and tow it up to our property. Put it in place, level it out, and install the AC. Have power turned on at property. Hook up AC.

Then a million things after that but it will be MOVED and that will be awesome.

And like I said at the beginning of this post, this is progress as of August 25. So maybe in two weeks I will have the update as of today, September 13. It is nice to look at all this and realize we have made huge strides since then! In fact, for a sneak peak of what the drywall looked like a week ago, go here to my husband’s blog for pictures.

Posted in our tiny house, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Gone Girl: What is Artistic Responsibility?

I read Gone Girl in one sitting yesterday.

I stayed up until two o’clock this morning, turning digital pages in my hand (40 percent…68 percent…94 percent…FINISHED AND NOW WIDE AWAKE).

I realllllly want to talk about this book with someone, but I know of no one in my circle who has read it, so I’m writing this blog post instead.

*Also note I’m adding edits to this. I wrote this on 6 hours of sleep. :-/

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I went online to see precisely what people were saying about the book in regards to its treatment of women, and other than this PDF by the National Network to End Domestic Violence, I found nothing that exactly pinpointed my concerns. There are a ton of discussions about misogyny and feminism, all of which I feel cloud the main issue of the book.

It’s also worth saying that I am not being deeply critical of this book because it was written by a woman. I’m deeply critical of all the books I read, the movies I watch, the TV shows I devour. It’s part of my nature.

First off, and this should go without saying since I read it in one sitting, it’s a really cleverly constructed thriller. I found the verrry end of it to be a little implausible that even Amazing Amy could have managed to construct and re-construct two different stories and setups that could overlay perfectly without leaving behind one single solitary mistake (why didn’t anyone ask for Desi’s whereabouts when Amy was allegedly taken by him? Because he would have been with his mom? And no one trusted her?). But overall I found it a compelling read about two co-dependent individuals and their exceedingly fucked up relationship with one another.

An aside: Some people on the Internet are saying that Amy was “too smart” to be convinced by dumb Nick with only a few words from him on TV that he still loved her. Sociopaths don’t care what other people think, they’ve said. Well, sociopath may be one good description for Amy (and it’s one used by Nick), but more importantly and unstated explicitly by the two unreliable narrators is that Amy suffers from textbook Narcissistic Personality Disorder. And someone with NPD will absolutely respond to someone telling them exactly what they want to hear. How did I pick up on this? Other than my own extensive life experience with such people, Amy tells us. In Act 2, when we find out Amy is framing Nick, and we start to hear her in her own words, she tells us. She kicks off her honesty by describing how her whole life, she has put on costumes, slipped different personalities onto her being like she was an actor in a play. Actually, just read this link, it will save you my ramblings on NPD: Amy has literally every single one of those symptoms. I applaud Gillian Flynn for such an accurate portrayal of extreme NPD, all the way down to the childhood with parents who failed to appropriately praise her. End aside.

So what was my problem with the book? It stems from a question I’ve been toying with for a few years now: what is the responsibility of artists for how people will view their work in the larger context of real, actual society? Or better said: do artists need to think about how their work will affect the world?

Allow me a series of small diversions.

When Dave Chapelle left behind both his highly successful comedy show and a large sum of money, he said the inciting incident was watching back a recently-filmed skit on the monitors in-studio. The skit was heavily racially charged (duh, it’s Chapelle). Dave Chapelle later said that in that moment, one of the white cameramen laughed in a way that made Chapelle uncomfortable. The laugh was a little too long. A little too loud. It was the wrong kind of laugh. For the first time Chapelle thought that maybe there were people out there laughing in the wrong way at his skits, and that his comedy wasn’t as responsible as he thought it was.

I felt this same way when I went to see Borat in theaters. Here’s a statement filled with redundancy: I saw it in a theater in an incredibly conservative town in North Carolina. During the scene where Borat was discussing how in his nation they “hang homosexuals,” a group of young white men behind me started laughing uproariously. They laughed in the wrong way, and they continued to laugh in the wrong way, at the wrong things, throughout the whole movie. I walked out of that theater deeply aware that art has consequences.

Does this mean an artist can’t touch race or gender or sexuality at all? No, it doesn’t. I feel that the subject of racism and misogyny and homophobia can all be handled deftly by adding in appropriate reactions of sane, surrounding characters. Like on the US version of The Office: any time Michael Scott ends up being racist or sexist or homophobic, the camera pans to the shocked, disapproving, head-shaking, socially-aware characters around him. It is then that we realize that we aren’t meant to be laughing at the intolerant joke he made, we are meant to be laughing at him and how hard he is trying to not be intolerant while failing miserably.

What the hell does this have to do with Gone Girl? Okay. The setup of the book rests upon the in-real-life fact that in the vast majority of cases where a woman goes missing, it is nearly almost always at the hands of a man, and that man is nearly always someone she knows, and that male someone she knows is nearly always her husband. This is a fact of reality. Men are, by and large, the perpetrators of violence against women. (Gavin deBecker talks at length about this in his wonderful book, The Gift of Fear).

The twist within the pages of Gone Girl is that in fact, the missing woman is not missing at the hands of her husband, a man she knows, nor a man at all.

The missing woman is missing from everyone but herself. Because Amy, sufferer of NPD and sociopathy, has faked her own murder and framed her husband to teach him a lesson about infidelity. Clever! Yes. Clever. For the sake of art, it is clever to insert a completely unlikely situation because the readers won’t be looking for it when the twist comes. They aren’t expecting it, because most women do not fake rape and abuse and pregnancy and their own death and then set up a complex series of clues to frame their husbands. Most deceased, pregnant women who have cheating husbands with violent tendencies have died at the hands of their cheating husbands with violent tendencies.

That Amy has a long past of accusing men of rape and stalking just to satisfy her own bizarre egomania is also another layer on the cake of discomfort for me.

But it’s art! Who cares?

I care. Remember what I said about context?

The other deeply clever part of the book is that it’s told by two completely unreliable narrators. That makes for a good read. It also means we have no context, no reality to grip onto, no other characters to base our own reactions off of (which again, makes for a great read).  And while the central conceit of Gone Girl is terribly clever because it inverts what actually happens in reality, the fact that it is presented in a completely familiar, completely real world (post-recession middle America) is deeply troubling. We are told that what Amy has done is because of her mental illnesses, that what Amy has done has almost zero precedent in the real world, that it is so uncommon that no one even thinks it could be real, yet we are told this in the wrappings of our own world. The plot is fictional, but the setting is real. It feels like it is real, down to the dead-on Nancy Grace impersonator within its pages. And that’s the problem I have.

I’m afraid at how the book is being received. I’m afraid that women, who are already disproportionate victims not only of violent crime but of the justice system, will further suffer from the absolutely massive popularity of this book, a book that shows us that “Hey guys, even women commit violence, and when they do, it is absolutely terrifying.” We live in a society where Men’s Rights Activists exist, stating that to be completely “fair,” we must say that women and men do things in equal measure, all the way down to violence. That you can’t use the pronoun “he” as a rule when talking about perpetrators of violence, and that you shouldn’t use the pronoun “she” as a rule when talking about victims, because that’s not “fair to men.”

In reality, women committing violence against men is the absolute exception. To be “fair” in this case is to be statistically inaccurate, to paraphrase Gavin deBecker. Women on men violence is the exception. But when you’re in the pages of the book, it feels like the rule.

Is it Gillian Flynn’s fault if people take it that way? I think it is. I think writers have a responsibility to their audiences to present socially responsible literature. I think writers have to consider how their fictional work fits into the very real context of society.

There’s also the disturbing question of why the book is popular: is it because it is so engrossing and well-written (certainly)? But is it also because it fits the narrative in our society that women who claim victimhood are untrustworthy, manipulative, lying, bitches? I don’t know. I hope not.

I really, really hope not. But I’m also not naïve.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Drywall!

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Most tiny house blog posts I’m like TL;DR, get to the photos.

And I know I’m not alone in this, so I’ve generously peppered my words here with photos of MASSIVE progress, courtesy of my husband.

When I’m feeling discouraged, I hit up Instagram (my account is here!) and scroll through the tiny house hashtag. I see how far we’ve come when I see people just pulling an empty flatbed into their driveways, or people just scribbling ideas on paper. I mean, look at our house!

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This was but a twinkle in our eyes three years ago! Two years ago this week, this was a an empty flatbed in a generously borrowed driveway.

I also see a good amount of people on Instagram re-posting photos of other people’s tiny houses (like our friend Macy’s; her gorgeous, modern tiny house is a popular one) and writing “This is my dream! Oh I want one of these!”. This is my completely non-evidence-based opinion: 99% of the people posting that will never, ever build a tiny house. Because tiny house building is hard. fucking. work.

I get it. The houses are so twee looking on all the blogs, and much like a movie, you can skip ahead to the happy ending. The people talking about their insanely low living costs, photos of cats snuggling in a sunbeam in a cozy loft, the brags about 20-minutes of deep cleaning a diminutive space once a week – these are all things that intrigue people and inspire people to want a “simpler life.” What most people don’t choose to write about and even more people don’t choose to read are the “simple” 1000+ hours of building. Of teaching yourself every little step and then getting out in the 98 degree heat to go do that little step. Day after day after day. Of getting into the house and realizing you don’t have all the parts you need. The million trips to Lowe’s, the contractors who never call back, the orders that are cancelled. This is not to mention all of the hours worked to pay for those materials.

If I’m making it sound like hell: good. I want to balance out the people who post “TA-DA!!!!” reveal photos, the people who make it seem like electrical work for a complete newbie takes one brief weekend.

Someone on a financial forum told me that 18 months sounded like an excessively long time to be building a tiny house. I told him this seemed the average amount of time, at least for people blogging about their builds. The guy wrote back that he was estimating “three weekends” for his own build.  I typed: “Definitely blog about it! We all have a lot to learn from you!” all the while shaking my head and laughing from behind my keyboard.

But I’m not saying all this work isn’t worth it. So while I want to pop the hope bubbles of doe-eyed dreamers, I also don’t want other people looking at our life and thinking: “Wow, why are they doing this? What a terrible thing to put yourself through. Life should be easier.” All good things, all things worth having – wonderful marriages, financial security, being a great cook – take work. This is the burden of being human: if someone told you that they would hand you, tomorrow, your ideal life, with no effort required by you; you would be enamoured of it for a few weeks before the emptiness and boredom set in and you started setting new goals.

The good people over at Rebel Heart recently (and very publicly) lost what they’d worked so hard for: their sailboat home and a dream of sailing around the world with their young children. Eric wrote a beautiful post about that dream, the one they lived for two years. I completely resonated with his words, particularly this part:

“…what made those two years possible was the decade before it. It was acquiring a lot of sea time. Buying a boat. Paying down debt. Long hours in the office. Getting my commercial license. Many, many hours of physical labor. 

Those were not sexy years. They do not capture the eye with pictures of amazing sunsets or tropical paradises. But the reality for most of us is that if you want to achieve something you need to put some serious time in at the grindstone to get there.”

P1050520

Meredith Gersten posted a wonderful Vince Lombardi quote last week:

“The man on top of the mountain didn’t fall there.”

He made it there one small decision, one small action at a time. Over and over and over again.

P1050524

Posted in our tiny house | 6 Comments

Opinions Are Like Assholes.

alpaca-don't-careThis alpaca couldn’t give two fucks. Note to self: be more like alpaca. Texas Hill Country. November 2013. Nikon D90.

At any given moment, I either want to hug the Internet or tell it to fuck off.

It seems about equally filled with complete pricks and really nice people.

There was a guy yesterday on a forum I post to who was so clearly trolling, but he was SO GOOD at it that I failed to notice before I got really angry. This guy was so good at getting people riled up and turning them against one another. It was the master troll formula of post something somewhat plausible, don’t respond to anyone other than “Thanks for your input. You didn’t understand my post. Here is my ridiculous question that doesn’t make any sense.” Over and over and over again. Then when I called him out on trolling and someone else did, too, he called both of us trolls.

It was ridiculous. Thankfully I stopped after two posts.

Then there are the Grammar Pricks. Seriously, stop picking apart people’s grammar in comment threads. It’s almost always ad-hominem, adds nothing to the discussion, and comes off so prick-ish I just can’t stand it. Inevitably, the first Grammar Prick makes a grammar mistake of his own, thusly starting the “I know English more good than you do” trail of comments when all I want to know is if anyone else thinks The Voice has become the most boring talent show in all of television history. Seriously, not even Usher’s dimples and biceps make me want to tune in anymore and WHO ELSE IS WITH ME?

Then there’s every single time I read Pat’s Bumfuzzle blog. Pat is currently renovating an incredible Travco so his family can go be awesome on the road together. There are definitely nice people in the comments, but inevitably the prick comments go like this: “Nice job, but I could have done it better/faster/cheaper/bow down to my undocumented armchair expertise.” It’s a refrain I’m sensitive to because, well, the entire tiny house online community is filled with pricks like that.

Say prick again!

Prick.

Speaking of tiny house blogs, Macy Miller posted what can best be described as a completely overwhelming look at how women are treated on the Internet. Granted, many of the “better, faster, cheaper” comments would have still been directed at a male builder. The rest, the ones questioning her morals, her judgment, and her life choices? Were decidedly targeted, anti-female attacks. The misogynist pigs have been out in full force in the comments of all of the many articles featuring Macy’s gorgeous tiny house, and it makes me sick.

I really don’t know where I’m going with all of this but damn, are some people really that bored that all they want to do is troll and be angry?

Then again, I’m guilty of it too. I find that the more irritated I get by something else someone has done/is doing, the more I need to look at what *I* am doing or not doing with my life. I usually get extra critical when I am experiencing discomfort or discord with my own decisions.

I am once again re-examining my exposure to things that make me angry, because anger is a pretty useless emotion. This will, once again, limit the things I look at online. I’ve been really great in 2014 not looking at things that piss me off thus far, but I slipped over the weekend in the absence of good book reading material. I guess a better way of saying it is that I’ve been spending too much of the precious little energy I have becoming invested in someone else’s shit. It’s a powerful pull, and something I’ve worked hard on decreasing for the last six years or so. I’ve come a long way, and still have a ways to go.

For now, I’m increasing my awareness and changing my behavior because it makes me happier.

For anyone who made it this far down: that alpaca at the top of the post actually took a dump while he was eating. Like I said, that alpaca couldn’t give two fucks.

Long live the happy people and pooping-while-eating alpacas of the world! I will end this completely random post with an Internet hug.

*hug*

Posted in this is my life | 4 Comments